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Y FREDERICK BRUTZER 



Blma /Ibatcr 



Blma /Ibater 



A STORY OF COLLEGE LIFE 

Written in Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary 
of Eimhurst College at Elmhurst, Illinois 

By FKEDEMCK BALTZEK 

Author of 
Asa Kahabka, Ergo Terbalz, Thea, etc. 






1921 
EDEN PUBLISHING HOUSE 

ST. LOUIS, MO. CHICAGO, ILL 



Copyright 1921 

EDEN PUBLISHING HOUSE 
St. Louis, Mo. Chicago, Hi. 



FOREWORD 

One of the conspicuous weaknesses, of our age is its lack of the 
historic sense. There are so many pressing, practical problems to be 
solved. The opportunities for great and rapid success are so allur- 
ing, and the appeal of the present and the realistic in work as well 
as in play is so strong that most of us forget what we owe to the 
past. And because we take so little time to think of what past gen- 
erations have given us, we too often have an exaggerated notion of 
our own importance, as compared with our forefathers, and a one- 
sided view of the tasks and responsibilities we have to face. 

The fifty years of life and work which have made Elmhurst 
College what it is today constitute a most important part of the 
history of the Evangelical Synod, and Elmhurst College has played 
a most important part in that history. In his attempt to portray 
and to interpret the spirit of Old Elmhurst the author of "Alma 
Mater" has therefore performed a real service to the members of our 
churches. Out of a wide and intimate acquaintance with human life 
and a sympathetic insight into the life and thought of Elmhurst 
forty years ago, he has given us many interesting glimpses of by- 
gone days at the Proseminary, and not only of the innocent and 
sometimes foolish pranks of adolescent Evangelical boyhood, but 
also of the serious purpose and determined effort to master difficul- 
ties which is the strength and the promise of Evangelical manhood. 
A thoughtful reading of the volume should be a pleasure both to the 
older readers, who cherish the memories of "ye olden days," and 
to the present generation, who are inspired by the fine ideal of a 
greater and a better Elmhurst. That these ideals may be fully re- 
alized in the not too distant future, and that they may be realized 
without a break with the splendid traditions of the Elmhurst of 
long ago, is the sincere hope of 

Julius Hor.stma.nx, Class of '88. 



M^^^^/i^^AA^liA/iA^^^^^^^^^^^^i^^^^^^^^^^^ 



CHAPTEK 




1 UT Tin bound to have him !" 

"Go ahead, for all I care. I sliau't exert myself to 
chase after the skin of a nieasl}^ mole." 
The last words were uttered by a tall, slender youth 
of sixteen, whose listless elegance combined with cer- 
tain affectations seemed to place him beyond the confines of a 
country preachers garden. Giving no heed to the first speaker, 
he seated himself on a neat little wooden bench hidden by a clus- 
ter of bushes, and, stealthil}', opened the hook he had secretly 
procured from the town library. 

"Eobert! Robert! I've got him!" 

The younger of the two boys, not yet sixteen, came dash- 
ing through the garden, his face flushed with excitement, hold- 
ing the mole in his hand. "Look, I got him after all." 

"And so did he get his princess in the meantime", said 
Robert as he held up the book he was reading. "I prefer this 
to your form of amusement." 

"0, that was exciting. He almost escaped, but I reached the 
spot in the nick of time. See, isn't he a fine specimen of a mole?" 
"He may be, but this is a capital book and I shall get the 
second part of it. Don't bother me with your mole." 

"Well, now don't you want to see me dissect tlir little 
fellow? Ah! a fine specimen!" 



ALMA MATEE 

"Indeed, quite a thoroughbred; an English thoroughbred! 
P^or shame! Some day some one will dissect you, and it will 
be a miracle if a heart is found in your bosom. For shame!" 

While Eobert was speaking, Eoy Keller had drawn his 
knife from his pocket, and was preparing to dissect the mole. 

"You see, Eobert, I'm bound to know what is inside of 
him. Don't you understand?" 

Eobert shrugged his shoulders contemptuously, but, when 
he heard some one approaching, slipped the book into his 
pocket and stood seemingly absorbed in watching Eoy and the 
mole. The venerable Pastor William Howe, tutor of the two 
boys, now appeared on the scene. In the good old days it was 
not unusal to place a boy, or several of them, under the care 
of a private tutor, since educational opportunities were rare 
and not especially good. Besides, the custom carried with it a 
peculiar advantage for the boy, who was thus forced to adapt 
himself to a new environment, and submit to the authority of 
a stranger — an advantage foreign to student life today. Even 
now, it is true that a boy who does not learn to obey superiors 
outside of his home circle will rarely be fitted, when he reaches 
manhood, to hold responsible positions and command the re- 
spect and obedience of others. 

Pastor Howe took in the situation at a glance, and look- 
ing Eobert straight in the eye, spoke to him first. 

"Eobert, have a'OU finished your problems in arithmetic 
and studied your lesson in geography?" 

"Not yet", said Eobert, and sneaked out of the garden. 

The good pastor sighed and watched him until he disap- 
peared from view, then turned to Eoy Keller, who, engrossea 
in his desire to dissect the mole, had failed, seemingly, to no- 
tice the preacher. An expression of pain, not unmixed with 
tenderness, stole over the benevolent countenance of the pastor 

8 



ALMA MATER 

when he observed what Eo}- was doing, for he understood tlie 
boy, and stepping to his side laid his hand on the l)03'''s shouhl- 
er, saying: 

"'Come, Roy, let the mole alone. I have a serious word to 
say to you." 

The boy raised his head, looked into the wrinkled, but 
kind face of his tutor, and with his big brown eyes, sparkling 
from beneath the almost square forehead, seemed to say, "Has 
it come to pass, at last?" The old ])reacher was very fond 
of Roy, for he saw wonderful ({ualities hidden in the depths of 
his soul, which, at times, would venture out like dancing spirits 
in moments of joy and vigor of thought, or in wonder and ex- 
pectation when in pursuit of knowledge. This was one of those 
moments in Roy's life when the hidden part welled up from the 
fountain of the boyish soul into his expressive eyes and de- 
manded recognition. Pastor Howe was the only one capable 
of understanding the boy's desires and expectations, and he was 
deeply moved. Roy, conscious of the old man's seriousness, 
looked into his solemn face, and asked, — 

"What has happened?" 

"Nothing in particular, as yet; but, my boy, T feel as 
though something of great importance concerning your future 
life were about to happen. You know I love you, as your own 
father, and believe you understand my feeling for you, even 
though I have been strict and inflexible in my demands upon 
your faithfulness and mental ability in the two years that 
you have been here." 

"Your parents — God bless them — meant well toward 
you. Now, 3^ou know it was their intention that you be a 
steamboat captain, and some day run a big packet down the 
Ohio, all the way from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. Living 
so near the great river, it was natural enough that they 



ALMA MATER 

should imagine such a life for you. But do you remember 
how, even as a child, you would follow me on my rambles 
through the woods, when I came to visit you, while your 
brothers amused themselves on the river; how you would go 
looking for shells and snails, and wanted to know how the little 
animals looked on the inside, how the flowers acquired their 
color, and the why and wherefore of many other things?" 

"Most people blamed you for destroying animal life, but I 
knew it was thirst for knowledge, and encouraged that. Who 
was the happier, you or I, when your parents at last consented 
to let me prepare you for further study and agreed that, some 
day, as a reward for good behavior, you should be a preacher 
of the Gospel? But now — " 

"What, pastor?" 

"I'm afraid, my boy, it will never be." 

"Why not?" 

The boy was strangely excited. His face blanched, but his 
eyes looked straight into those of the pastor, 

"Listen, and I shall tell you. You remember when your 
two brothers died so suddenly ? Well, you had been here about 
six months, and I feared then for your career, but when your 
father met with that accident, so that he could no longer do a 
man's work on the farm, I was sure your mother would call 
you home. Now the little farm has been sold, your parents 
have moved to town and your mother wants you to work on 
the river, between Pittsburgh and Portsmouth. You have tried 
it before and it is not so bad, though people say it is a rough 
life. You can make your mark on the river, as well as on the 
land, if you do what is right before God and man. Of course 
I remonstrated, and argued with your mother. I tried to im- 
press her with the fact that you were not intended for sueli 
work, and that your heart was set on books and learning. I 

10 



ALMA MATER 

even went so far as to say that, in my opinion, you ought he- 
come a preacher of the Gospel, but she could not sec it tiiat 
way. She holds that, as the only son, you are in duty bound 
to help support your parents, since their income will not 
suffice. Your mother is an excellent and sensible woman. — " 

Rov, still deathly pale, at length found his tongue, which 
had seemed to cleave to the roof of his mouth. 

"Do you think" he asked, huskily, "mother is right ?" 

"I would ratlier not give an opinion, Roy; but — one always 
measures according to his own yardstick — remind you of the 
fifth commandment." 

"But is there no other way ? Pastor, 1 do not belong on the 
river. I love my mother with all my heart, but 1 do think I 
sliould have my own choice in selecting my vocation. Why 
should 1 work on the river and, probably, miss my calling for- 
ever, when I am sure that there is enough money to provide 
for father and mother as long as they live?" 

"Perhaps so, but not enough to send you to college and 
the seminary." 

"0, please don't forget, Til take care of that myself at 
college — I'll see my way through. Don't worry about that. 
Besides, what about father's pension? Should not that be of 
some help?" 

"Yes, but I presume your parents have figured it all out 
and expect you to go home. Neither you nor I can change 
the situation, I am thinking.'' 

Despite their sense of helplessness, the two >at for a long 
time on the bench near the gooseberry bush, talking the mat- 
ter over. At last the aged preacher brought Roy to the point 
where, though reluctanly, he concluded that his mother's wish 
was his duty. 

Roy had forgotten all about the mole. He sat for a long 

11 



ALMA MATEE 

time in his little chamber, in the attic of the snow white par- 
sonage, and reflected on what was to him a terrible disappoint- 
ment. His thoughts were sad and his spirit very gloomy. He 
heard and saw nothing of the two robins building their nest in 
the old maple tree that stood near his window. He sensed none 
of the fragrance of the roses that bloomed and wafted their 
odor through the open window. He gave no heed to the little 
bee that was caught behind the white curtain, buzzing and 
scrambling for freedom. 

When at length the afternoon Avas spent he scarcely 
heard the call for supper, and, at the table, could partake of 
nothing. Yet Roy was not the only one sorely hurt and troub- 
led. His old pastor and teacher was equally sad, for he knew 
what was in the boy's heart. 

Before nightfall Robert Becker ha|d learned all that had 
happened to his comrade Roy. Had such a thing as the throw- 
ing away of school books happened to Robert, he would have 
hailed it with joy; but to step so low as to become a deckhand 
on a river packet, or a workhand on a coalbarge, that aroused 
his pity. 

Robert Becker was the only son of a rich man holding a 
prominent position in one of Pittsburgh's great steel industries. 
Unfortunately, he did not fulfill the expectations of his parents. 
Naturally phlegmatic, he relied, from early youth, on the pro- 
minence of his father's position, gained through wealth, and 
was proud of being a rich man's son. His mother encouraged 
these reprehensible inclinations of the boy, while his father 
rarely favored him with any consideration. In school he was 
indolent and made little progress, and, since that was, in the 
opinion of the parents, the fault of his teachers, he frequently 
changed schools. It was generally conceded that he was not 
without talents, of which he made no use. 

12 



ALMA MATER 

On the other hand, while he profited little from his studies, 
he learned man}' things that were distinctly unprofitable. He 
became acquainted with the pleasures of a large cit}' and kejjt 
company with boys who were not of good repute. 

At length his parents decided to take matters in hand, and 
one fine day liobert was sent away. It was rumored that he 
had gone "far West", others would have it that he had gone to 
Mexico; it was a long time before his old comrades learned that 
he was under the tutorship of Pastor HoAve, one of those rare 
characters, who, besides being a scholar of the first water, 
possessed that unusual talent of knowing how to impart knowl- 
edge to young boys. 

Xaturally Robert was not satisfied in that quaint, quiet 
little parsonage in Ohio. He missed the pleasures of Pitts- 
burgh, though he found some consolation in boasting to Roy of 
his escapades and wonderful experiences in the city. Roy 
would manifest a certain interest when Robert referred, in 
glowing words, to the joys of city life, but he was contented 
and happy with his books, animals and experiments, and, as j^et, 
felt no desire for other amusement. 

This was the state of aft'airs on that June day when Roy 
heard his mother's wish. Robert showed a condescending pity, 
which Roy resented. Having once made up his mind to go home, 
as his mother demanded, he desired pity from no one, nor 
did he care to have his disappointment discussed. Robert had 
no idea how severe the hurt was in Roy's heart when he said, — 
"In spite of all, some day I'll see you, with your portfolio under 
your arm, coming down the two hundred and ten steps of Uni- 
versity Hill, beaming with joy, the leader of your class. I feel 
sorry for you, indeed I do, but don't give up. You will live to 
enjoy the realization of your ambition." 

The following day Roy requested permission to leave for 

13 



ALMA MATEK 

his home without delaj', — "OtherM'ise", said he, "I may not go 
at all. Who knows whether or not I shall be able to go eight 
days from now." 

Pastor Howe was conscious of Roy's struggle to do the 
right thing, observed that Eoy could not trust himself, and 
knew that the boy was aware of his own weakness. 

"All right — tomorrow." 

"Good", said Eoy, "tomorrow I shall leave. Sunshine to- 
day and then — heaven alone knows what will follow." 

That night, when Pastor Howe returned to the parsonage 
after a visit in the neighljorhood, a peculiar odor greeted his 
nostrils. Making his way to the kitchen, where the trouble 
seemed to originate, although the odor had penetrated the en- 
tire house, he found Roy stuffing numerous things into the 
stove, among which were letters, pasteboard boxes, small bot- 
tles, copybooks, etc. — all being consigned to the flames. 

"What are you doing, Roy?" 

"Away with the rubbish", said Roy, "I do not care to see 
it auy longer." 

"Why, Roy, your books, your cojiybooks, your collections! 
AYhat do you mean ?" 

"Pastor, 1 am burning the bridges behind me. It is all 
over now." 

"Dear boy", exclaimed the old man, taking Roy in his arms, 
while tears ran down his wrinkled checks. "The fifth com- 
mandment I know is hard to keep sometimes, but it is the 
Lord's command, — 'That thy days may be long upon the land 
which the Lord, thy God, giveth thee.' " 

Early tlie following morning Roy departed, walking to- 
ward the town, three miles away, where he was to board a train 
that would bear him to his home. He carried his small hand- 
bog and marched along the country road, giving no heed to the 

U 



ALMA MATER 

beauty of nature stretched out before him. The fields, mead- 
ows, woods — nothing charmed him as of yore, not even the 
merry singing of the birds. He was determined to forget the past 
and to flee from himself. 

At Pittsburgh the Allegheny and the Monongahela unite 
to form the mighty stream known as the Ohio. Key's old home 
was located on a mountain ridge, three miles from the little 
town of Biiena Vista, to which his parents had moved, — about 
ten miles from Portsmouth, nestling on the banks of the beau- 
tiful Ohio. Eoy reached home in safety, but with an air of de- 
pression. He was a good and dutiful son, however, and soon 
found employment on the river, in compliance with the wish of 
his parents. He was kept busy on his run between Ports- 
mouth and Cincinnati, and, in a short time, was familiar with 
all the curves of the river, and knew all about the river towns. 
He was unable to overcome the great disappointment of his 
young manhood, but found some consolation in living a free 
life, comparing it with the free course of the river. At times 
he was hurt by the knowledge that he had not been allowed 
to choose his own course, yet he still believed that, some day, 
his ambition to study for the ministry would be realized. 

Roy was not aware that the parents of Robert Becker had 
purchased a summer cottage located in the mountains on the 
Kentucky side. One day his boat was laid up on the Kentucky 
bank for hasty repairs, when, to his amazement, Robert sud- 
denly appeared on the scene. The latter, who had been loung- 
ing around in the woods and on the bank of the river, took ad- 
vantage of the fact that the boat was lying at anchor, and, act- 
uated by idle curiosity, crossed the gangway. Roy, pleasantly 
surprised, dropped his broom and shook haiids with him. 

"Robert, you here? I'm glad to see you. How are you?" 

At first Robert was puzzled and, for the moment, did not 

16 



ALMA MATER 

seem to recognize Eoy, who was sunburnt and clad in working 
clothes, but presently drawled out, — "Well, is that what you 
are doing?" 

Instantly Roy felt that Robert was not exactly pleased to 
see him, and his honest heart sank. He felt the contempt that 
lay in the remark and, also, in the eyes of Robert as he ob- 
served Roy in his soiled clothes, compelled to stoop to such 
menial work. Indeed, Robert, who, not so very long ago, was 
glad to have Roy assist him in his studies, was now undecided 
whether to speak or not. Was it because Roy was poor and had 
to work for his living? 

Rov keenly felt Robert's attitude toward him and, in 
order to hide his feelings, picked up his broom, walked toward 
the men who were watching the two boys, grabbed a bucket 
of water and dashed its contents over the deck. 

'"Well, I'll declare. How often must you do this?" said 
Robert, pointing to the broom and bucket in Roy's hands. 

"As often as it is required" was Roy's curt answer. 

"Tell me, are you not unhappy in your vocation?", — with 
particular emphasis upon the last word. 

"Xot in the least." 

A pause ensued. Then Robert remarked, as he turned to 
depart, "I hope to see you quite often, as we will spend the 
summer here in our cottage. Good-bye!" 

Roy did not look up, but continued his scrubbing until 
Robert was out of sight. Then he threw his broom across the 
deck, gave the bucket a kick, and stood erect, with his arms 
folded over his heaving chest — his eyes flashing fire. What 
occasioned this sudden pallor? Was the work too hard for 
him? Had he exerted himself too much? 

No. For the first time in his young life he understood 
how his "vocation" was regarded by those among whom, until 

16 



ALMA MATEE 

recently, he had moved as an equal. Until now the thought 
had never presented itself that, in his outward appearance, he 
saw the barriers between himself and the people of the world. 
Had he possessed the soul of a riverman, he would not have 
understood the contempt in Eobert's eyes, nor would he have 
felt the sting of it. But now the insult — for such he considered 
it — had fallen on his heart like a burning brand, albeit he had 
answered with boldness and pride. The whole affair disgusted 
him more than ever with his "vocation". 

That night Eoy slept but little, and at daybreak, when the 
first beams of the sun swept over the hills, he arose to welcome 
the coming day. I'rom the depths of his despair he glimpsed 
a bit of the sun's glory, and, bowing his head, murmured, "0 
God, have mercy on me. I pray Thee, Father in heaven, help 
me! Dost Thou know a way? Then lead me, as a father doth 
his child, unto the light. Lead, and I will follow." 

The captain of the boat ordered Roy to take a skiff and re- 
turn to Portsmouth — only a short distance — to procure some 
parts with which to complete repairs on the boat. Landing, he 
was accosted on the levee by a stranger, who inquired whether 
he conveyed passengers across the river. He replied in the 
negative, but remarked to the gentleman, — "Why do you wish 
to cross here? You will find nothing but hills over there." 

"Yes, I know, but I am looking for a family living some- 
where in those hills." 

"What's the name?" 

"Keller— Mr. John Keller." 

"Keller? WTiy that is my name and John Keller is my 
father." 

"Indeed! I call that great luck. I am his brother and 
have come from Philadelphia to see him, not having had that 
pleasure for many years. My name is Philip Keller." 

ir 



ALMA MATER 

Itoy's pleasure now was boundless. The uncle soon knew 
all about the boy and his ambitions, for one word quickly 
brought another. Eoy directed his uncle to the Keller home 
and then went about his business. Three days later, when he 
visited his home, he was greeted by his parents and uncle with 
singular regard. He did not understand until after supper, 
when the little family gathered around the table, and his uncle 
said to him, — "Well, Eoy, are you still willing to go to college 
and become a minister of the Gospel?" 

"Indeed, I am, but what makes you ask?" 
"Have you brought the matter before God in prayer?" 
Eoy glanced at his mother, whose eyes were filled with 
tears of joy, then he looked at his father and beheld a most 
unusual smile lighting up his features. He felt his own face 
redden as he thought of his short prayer in the morning at 
daybreak, and now, as then, he cast down his eyes as he spoke, 
more to himself than to the eager listeners, "Will it be possible ? 
Has the Lord found a way and is He about to answer my 
prayers ?" 

All remaind quiet, for they felt the sacredness of the mo- 
ment. At length Eoy's uncle arose, laid his hand on the boy's 
head, and said, "Yes, you are a good boy, and the Lord has 
found a way. You shall go to college, and some da}', I hope, 
you may preach the Gospel. I will see you through and will 
also take care of your parents. They shall not suifer." 

Words cannot express the joy and gratitude that filled 
Eoy's heart. Suffice it to say, his questionable career on the 
Ohio was ended, and preparations were begun immediately for 
his college career, as it was planned that he should leave home 
in time for the opening of the fall tenn at college. 



18 



CHAPTER II. 




HE little brown church of Bucna Vista was to be the 
scene of a unique festivity the last Sunday in August, 
and it soon became apparent to all that something out 
of the ordinary, from the viewpoint of a small congre- 
gation of Evangelical Christians, was in course of 
preparation. The news spread rapidly from house to house that 
Eoy Keller was going to college to study for the ministry. It 
was the first time in the history of the local church that one of 
her sons had chosen this vocation, and the good people, not un- 
mindful of the fact that Eoy's decision and choice reflected 
honor upon them, decided to make memorable the day of his de- 
parture. They desired to show their respect for the young man 
who proved the nobility of his spirit by thus answering the call 
of the Master. 

The church had been transformed, for the occasion, into 
a bower of flowers, with a background of wonderful palms and 
ferns, while garlands of smilax seemed to drop from some my«- 
terious realm above, attaching themselves to every avaiable ob- 
ject. The little choir had been busy for days, rehearsing an- 
thems suitable for this momentous event, and the board of 
trustees had purchased a new Bible, while the Young People's 
Society, after much deliberation, had selected a handsomely 
bound hymnal — these books to be presented to Roy as parting 
gifts, tokens of high regard. Best of all, Pastor William Howe, 
Roy's former tutor, was to preach the sermon on that memor- 
able day. 

At last the day dawned, like and yet unlike so many other 

19 



ALMA MATER 

Sundays. No one felt this so keenly as Roy Keller. His hap- 
piness knew no bounds when he awoke that Sunday morning, 
and his heart overflowed with thanksgiving. His father, being 
an invalid, ^as borne to his pew in the strong arms of two 
members of the church board. All eyes were turned upon Roy, 
whose heart palpitated as never before, when at the side of his 
parents he entered the little brown church, and he was greeted 
upon every side by kind smiles. He was truly grateful for all 
this attention and consideration, but that such extraordinary 
preparations should have been made on his account troubled him. 
He considered, however, that the kindly spirit of the people had 
prompted this expression of regard and goodwill, and praised 
Him from whom all blessings flow. Thereupon a feeling of 
peace and contentment stole over him. 

The service was rendered uiemorable by the sermon of 
Pastor Howe, who had selected for his text the ninth verse of 
the ninth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. 
While he called it the Biography of Levi, he really made the 
words of Jesus, "Follow me", the subject of his discourse. 

The congregation, reverently attentive, gave heed to the 
many beautiful thoughts so vividly presented by the beloved 
pastor, but few, if any, cherished, as did Roy, the lessons for 
future guidance. 

When the pastor spoke of the kind of men that claim powei 
and rank in the body of the clergy, his words were most im- 
pressive. "Think not that all who enter the ministry do so 
with clean and righteous hearts. And when, today, we rejoice 
over the fact that a young man out of our midst has announced 
his intention to answer the call of the Master, I, for one, know 
that at present he is serious and honest. Yet, I would warn 
even him that there are false claimants, and, as the years pass, 
temptation may overtake even the most sincere. Let us all 

20 



ALMA MATER 

beware of those who 'for their bellies' sake — creep, intrude and 
climb into the field/' 

The three classes of men who dishonestly seek ecclesiasti- 
cal })ower, are designated, figuratively, as follows: First, those 
who creep into the field, caring not so much for official recogni- 
tion, but preferring rather the power of secret influence, con- 
senting to any servility of conduct that they may discern, and 
ultimately direct, unawares, the minds of men. Then, those 
who intrude, that is, thrust themselves into the field, and by 
means of officious self-assertion and boldness of speech obtain 
mastery over the unthinking public. Lastly, those who climh, 
by diverting to the cause of their own selfish ambitions both 
labor and learning, thus becoming 'lords over the heritage', 
though not 'ensamples to the flock'." 

"Milton calls them, 'Blind IMouths' ! A most unusual ex- 
pression — a mixed metaphor, careless and unscholarly? Not 
at all. Its very audacity and pithiness are intended to make 
us look more closely at the phrase and remember it, expressing, 
as it does, a direct contradiction of the real meaning of the 
two great offices of the Church — a bishopric and pastorate. 

"A bishop is one who sees! A pastor is one who feeds! It 
is, therefore, most unbishoplike to be blind, and far from the 
requirements of a pastorate to want to be fed — to be a mouth. 
Combine the two contradictions, and you have — 'Blind Mouths'. 
Beware of false prophets and faithless stewards who are 'Blind 
Mouths'." 

One can understand that lioy was unable to forget these 
words that leaped at him like tongues of fire. 

After the service both young and old remained to say fare- 
well to Roy and bid him Godspeed. Amid tears of joy they 
wished him success, shaking his hand heartily and assuring him 

21 



ALMA MATEK 

that their hearts were ^dth him and their prayers would follow 
him. Is it any wonder that Ro}^ and his parents were supreme- 
ly happy? 

Among all these well-wishers, however, there was one who 
was singularly moved, but not happy, and it was none other 
tlian Eobert Becker. When he heard of the sudden turn in 
Roy's life and of the contemplated service in his honor, curios- 
ity prompted his decision to be present. Xo one seemed to no- 
tice him in the crowd that surrounded Roy, so he left the church 
with the intention of seeing his friend that evening. When he 
arrived at dusk he found Roy sitting on the steps of the ver- 
anda, his eyes fixed upon the fading light of that momentous 
day, and it was not until the click of the gates recalled him 
to a sense of this world's affairs that he became aware of 
Robert's approach. 

"Well, I'll declare, Robert, I am truly glad to have this 
opportunity of seeing you before my departure." 

'"You had an opportunity in church this morning, but 
didn't take advantage of it." 

"Fm sorry, but I was not aware that you were present." 

"I was there just the same." 

The boys ascended the steps together and seated them- 
selves upon the veranda. Both remained quiet for a while, but 
at leugtli the silence was broken by Robert, whose troubled 
eyes seemed to be gazing into space — "Are you really going, 
Roy?" he said. 

"Yes, my valise and trunk are packed, and I leave early 
in the morning." 

"Do you know I envy you?" 

"You? How so? I don't understand." 

"Well, you see it's this way. Since the service this morn- 

33 



ALMA MATEPt 

ing I have felt uneasy. There is something wrong with me. 
I do not understand myself." 

"What happened?" 

"Nothing happened, but I — envy you. It seems you are in 
great luck, and I am — I don't know what I am." 

"Robert, consider this. You have every chance to do 
something, be somebody, some day, if you only exert your will- 
power." 

"Will-power? What has that to do with it? Do you 
know I would like to go with you?" 

"Good, get ready and we'll start together.' 

"I — can't, Roy; maybe I'll join you later. I came to say 
good-bye, and — to ask your forgiveness, if ever I have hurt 
your feelings. Will you grant me that?" 

"To be sure, Robert. Let bygones be bygones, and here 
is my hand on it." 

"Well, then good-bye, Roy !" 

"Good-bye, Robert!" 

After a cordial handshake the boys parted, — the one, with 
only a confused idea as to his future; the other, with a definite 
purpose upon which to concentrate all energy. 

The next day Roy was journeying toward Chicago. He 
reached Columbus in the afternoon, rode all night, and the 
next morning was surprised to see that he was passing through 
endless prairieland. Despite the fact that he had slept at in- 
tervals only during the preceding night, there was no heaviness 
about his eyelids as he sat at the window, drinking in the view. 
Roy had read of prairies, but now he was permitted to see them. 
Thus he sat, the train speeding onward, until at last he realized 
the nearness of a great city — Chicago. In those days it had a 
population of 500,000 and was growing at the rate of 50,000 a 
year. Roy had heard of the great Chicago fire, and entering 

23 



ALMA MATER 

the city amid innumerable railroad tracks, seemingly entangled, 
one with the other, on which stood hundreds of freight cars, 
he occasionally caught a glimpse of some ruins still standing, — 
the result of that fearful devastation. 

Events followed one another in such rapid succession, it 
seemed to Roy as though he saw hundreds of things at the 
same time; and when at length he landed in the so-callea 
"Union Station" in Canal Street he was dazed by what he be- 
held, for not even in his imagination had he pictured such 
splendor, or so many interesting people. Strange as it may 
seem, he inuigined that all the boys he saw were on their way 
to college, just as he was. In fact, everything seemed to have 
some connection with Elmhurst College, which was upper- 
most in his thoughts. 

There was little time, however, for reflection, and, be- 
coming imbued with that spirit, peculiar to the typical Ameri- 
can, Roy pushed forward on his way to Elmhurst College, his 
future "Alma Mater". As yet, this name had not entered his 
mind, except perhaps as a passing thought. 

At last, seated in a yellow day coach, he began the last 
stretch of his long and tiresome Journey. His excitement had 
not subsided, and his emotions, while vague, were disturbing. 
Again the train puffed through level land, and by this time he 
was fully aware that he Avas, indeed, in a new and strange 
country. How different from his home in dear old Ohio, with 
its beautiful mountain ridges, studded with the ever quiet, 
somber forest, and lulled by the soothing murmer of a peace- 
ful stream! A sense of loneliness crept into his boyish heart, 
which seemed to beat louder and faster, but his reverie was in- 
terrupted l)y the brakeman, whose call of "Elmhurst" aroused 
him to action. 

Roy had reached his destination, but it seemed difficult 

24 



ALMA MATER 

for him to realize this fact. Had he really come all the way 
from his home to this place, or was he in the midst of a dream 
from which he would suddenly awaken? As he stood on the 
platform of the old frame shanty then called depot, his mind 
was a prey to seemingly unreal things, but, while gazing at a 
man loading trunks upon a big farm wagon, he observed a very 
realistic scene — a number of young fellows were laughing and 
joking as they assisted in piling up the trunks. One of the 
boys approached Roy, with an expression of amazement which 
might have been interpreted as indicating a thought such as, 
"That's a new one, see how frightened he is"; — instead, how- 
ever, he said, — "Well, are you coming with us?" 

Roy, awakened out of his trance, replied, "Which way?" 
"Are you bound for the College?" 
"Yes." 

"Good, you had better get on the wagon with us — we are 
ready. Have you your trunk and satchel?" 
"Yes, I suppose they are here all right." 
The driver cracked his whip, and they were off. 
The next day, which was Wednesday, Roy was accepted 
as a pupil, and, after matriculation, was cordially received by 
the Inspector, who was a warm friend of Pastor Wm. Howe. 
He was shown his bed in the dormitory and, after enjoying 
several meals in the large dining room with jolly boys, he won- 
dered what would be the next turn of events. 

The ceaseless activity of the day drives away that in- 
evitable longing for home, but the approach of night welcomes 
reflection; and it was at this hour of twilight, while seated at 
the open window of the small room which he was to share as 
study with three other boys, that Roy observed a train from 
the East, though he could not realize that it came from that 
direction— the East seemed West to him. It was sufficient to 

35 



ALMA MATER 

arouse a longing in his heart which seemed to choke him, 
while tears filled his eyes, but he swallowed hard and said to 
himself, — "Not that, I'll be brave. But all this is so new to 
me — mother is so far awa}' — mother—"; and he wiped the 
tears from his cheek. 

Just after the devotional service that evening the Inspec- 
tor announced that school work would begin the following day, 
and duly impressed upon the entire student body what was ex- 
pected of them in the new semester and what the faculty had 
planned for the curriculum. Then the laws and regulations of 
the institution were read and explained, so that the boys might 
know how to regulate their conduct. 

Roy paid close attention to all that was said, but did not 
understand half of what it meant. How could he ? Too many 
things were thrust upon him at once, and he was not able to 
grasp them all. One thing was clear to him, however, — he 
realized that he was at school, at college. His heart's desire 
had been granted, and now it was for him to make the best of 
the great opportunities that lay before him. He determined not 
to fail, though little he knew what might evolve, in the course 
of time, from these opportunities. 

Roy was not shy or backward among the boys, and, as it 
does not take long for boys to become acquainted — they will 
flock together — he and others made good use of the time prior 
to real work. 

Having carried his trunk to the dormitory and placed it 
at the foot of his plain, iron bed, Roy took his Bible, hymnal 
and other little things to his room, and deposited them in his 
desk. How proud he was of that desk. Whenever he used to 
see Pastor Howe writing at his desk, at home, he would wish 
that he too might some day write at his own desk. 

Having arranged the desk to his satisfaction, Roy seated 

06 



ALMA MATER 

himself with the intention of writing his first letter to his par- 
ents. He dipped his pen, hut held it poised aloft — it was fortu- 
nate that he was alone in the room — he felt himself shaken by 
sobs, and what might not have happened, had the boys seen 
him! He drew his handkerchief across his eyes, which were 
rapidly filling with tears and said, "This will never do." 

Roy was at a loss to know what he should write to his 
mother and father. Naturally, the boy's heart and mind were 
fairly crammed with the impressions of his trip and present 
surroundings, yet he felt no inclination to give a description of 
them. This was his first letter to his parents, and, after the 
salutation, he wrote, — "My heart is in my throat, but, mother, 
do not think I am homesick. One boy said to me, today, 
'Have you suffered from homesickness yet?' 1 said, 'No, and 
I do not want to be afflicted with it.' So don't worry about me. 
I'm all right. Do you know, mother, I see no hills here. Every- 
thing is flat like your kitchen table, and there is no river. As 
far as the eye can see there is level country, with those yellow 
trains ever coming and going. I do not know why it is, but 
they seem to have life, they appeal to me, and yet — I feel sad 
every time I see the smoke of one in the distance, near May- 
wood, which I am told is about eight miles away. Just think 
what it means to be able to see such a distance. Can you im- 
agine it? Oh, those trains, and so many of them! Well, I am 
glad I do see them, even though I know I can't board one of 
them and return to my home, but — it's all right, so don't worry 
about me. 

"Our meals are served in one big dining room, in which 
long, plain tables are spread, and it is a good thing that I 
worked on the river, because we have hash every evening for 
supper. Some boys say they can't eat the stuff, but I can, 
though it is different from our steamboat hash. And the noise 

27 



ALMA MATEK 

at the table — I mean the clatter of the knives and forks — but 
I'll become accustomed to that. We all sleep in one big dormi- 
tory. You should see the many beds in a row. We have to 
make up these beds ourselves, and some boys don't know how, 
they are so unpractical. I'm glad I learned that from you, 
mother. 

"I wish I were as happy and jolly as Frank Tzarbell. They 
tell me he has never been homesick. In fact, they say he was 
glad to get away from home, because he had a stepmother and 
home was no longer the same to him. I am told he has foreign 
blood in his veins. His name sounds strange — maybe he is of 
Eussian descent. I don't know about that, but he is some boy. 
I hope he and I will be able to get along together, for I like 
him. He has been here one full semester, and, while he has 
paid no attention to me as yet, maybe he will later on. 

"Schoolwork will begin tomorrow, I tremble when I think 
of it, for, dear mother, I am afraid everything will be so dif- 
ferent from what I anticipated. I am here, now, however, and 
I suppose I will have to remain. If I could only master that 
strange feeling in the region of my heart. Do you know, 
mother, I could scarcely eat the hash, biscuit and syrup, to- 
night, for supper. I felt so sad, I went to my bed, but — don't 
worry — I did not lie down — it was not the hash, syrup, or 
big biscuit that made me feel as though I no longer cared to 
live. It must have been a longing for the beautiful Ohio and 
its banks, the Kentucky mountains, and our little home — you, 
mother and father — and — well, I'm all over it now, and 1 am 
not coming back, and don't you think so. 

"Now I must close. Three boys just came to my room 
and asked if I would not join them. I was afraid to say 'no', 
so I answered 'yes'. And just think of it, Frank Tzarbell was 
one of them. Oh! what a boy he is and how he did scrutinize 



ALMA MATER 

me, yet I like him. There is something about him that fascin- 
ates me, and, I trust, some day I may be able to discover what 
it is. He fairly charms me. I must not forget to tell you that 
my number, here, is 23. One would think I was in prison. I 
shall write again. My love to you. Good-bye." 

Having finished his letter, Eoy left the room with the 
boys, who led him to the big "yard". In those days there was 
nothing like a "Campus" as it is called today. When Eoy ar- 
rived at Elmhurst the institution had been in existence about 
five years. Everything was new and parts were unfinished. 
Even the grounds, in front of the main building lacked the 
proper attention, and thus marred the beauty of the entire 
place. The term College was a misnomer, as the institution 
was nothing more than a school; but the rapid growth of the 
German Evangelical Synod of ISTorth America forced the de- 
mand for men to enter the ministry. 

The opportunities offered at that time were very meager 
and wholly inadequate. Through its absorption of several smal- 
ler Evangelical synods with practically the same basis of faith 
and confession, the Evangelical Synod of the West had come, 
in the year 1871, into possession of ^felanchthon Seminary, 
located at Elmhurst. The property consisted of a large tract of 
land and one frame building in the little village of Elmhurst, 
Illinois, — sixteen miles west of Chicago. 

In 1878, Just two years after the school was opened, it be- 
came necessary to erect a new dormitory to accommodate the 
rapidly increasing number of pupils. Upon the completion of 
this building the faculty declared, with just pride, that it 
would not only further the interests of the Church, but would 
prove adequate for many years. Eoy Keller came to Elmhurst a 
few years after the erection of this dormitory, which is the 
music building today. 

29 



ALMA MATER 

There had been many changes in the faculty since the 
opening of the school. Two professors had resigned because 
they could not work together in peace, and a new man was at 
the head. In fact, so many new professors had been installed, 
Roy could see that the boys had decided to take advantage of 
the faculty's unfamiliarity with conditions, and he was not 
averse to joining them, as he was pleased and rather flattered 
that they should ask him. 

The noise made by the four boys as they clattered down 
the big stairs leading into the main hall caused the door of 
the Inspector's study to be thrown open by a young woman, 
who said not a word as she stood in the open doorway, but her 
black eyes flashed as she glared at the disturbers of the peace. 

Roy did not understand the situation, until he joined the 
boys outside, where all wanted to speak at once. 

"Did you see her ? I wish she had spoken, but it seems she 
never does." 

"1 wonder if she hasn't anything to do but spy on us?" 

"So far as I know, that is all she does." 

"Who is she?" asked Roy. 

"Never mind who she is. We are not sure whether she is 
related to the Inspector or not, and, what is more, we don't 
care about that, but we do care when she comes around spy- 
ing, and then goes and tells on us." 

"0, do you remember", said Frank Minor, "one day, last 
winter — in January — Bill Strong had some business in th« 
laundry. The girls were busy, as usual, and, as there was too 
much steam in the place, they opened the door to allow it to 
escape. Bill happened along about that time, and noting the 
open door, walked boldly in and chatted with the girls, not be- 
ing aware of the fact that Miss Nett — she was known by that 
name — was sitting at her window, looking more like a scrawny, 

30 



ALMA MATEE 

tousled little watch dog than anything else. Bill had scarcely 
entered when she came flying over the rickety old plankwalk, 
slipped on the ice, and fell. Well, such a sight! I saw the 
whole affair. Bill rushed out of the laundry to assist her, 
but — 0, my ! how she barked at him, — 'Don't you touch me, 
you—.' 

'But — Miss — I'm afraid you are hurt — allow me — .' 

'What's that to you? I'm not hurt. You had better at- 
tend to your own business.' 

. "Poor Bill, That night he was called on the carpet. Of 
course, the Inspector believed the girl and gave Bill a lecture 
of the first water. Bill became so angry he swore he would 
detach the thin 'cluster of auburn curls' dangling on the side 
of his enemy's face, and thus mar her beauty for some time 
to come. Boys, he really meant it. He laid for her several 
evenings, and we had all we could do to prevent him from carry- 
ing out his threat." 

"Now let me tell you what this Miss Nett did to me", said 
Frank Tzarbell. "One day, last summer, shortly before com- 
mencement, I was making my way toward the washroom for a 
first class clean-up, having helped Abraham pick potato bugs, 
when I ran into one of the kitchen fairies, who was carrying a 
big tray of June cherries. To me the crash was not harmful, 
nor was it unpleasant, but it played havoc with the cherries. 
They were scattered all over the hall, crushed and tramped 
upon. A nice mess it was. Well, as a matter of course, we 
laughed and chatted as we endeavored to save at least some 
of them. Suddenly Miss Nett appeared in the kitchen door. 
You know she never says a word to any one but the Inspector. 
Eesult, his Majesty sent for me that moonlit evening, and in- 
formed me, in a blooming long speech, if ever I was caught 

31 



ALMA MATER 

again eating cherries in the hall and making love to any of the 
girls, I sliould be dismissed on the spot. Think of it !" 

The boys had more of these little stories to relate, but Roy 
could not enjoy them to the fullest, as he had not as yet seen 
Miss Nett. 

By this time the students had reached the meadow where 
Abraham was milking the cows. He had finished and had come 
to the fence, in order that he might get the boys to assist him. 

"Here, boys, give me a lift. Tzarbell, you take this buck- 
et", and turning to Roy, he remarked, ''I see 3'ou are one of the 
new ones." 

In those days the boys were not classified as Freshmen, 
Juniors, Seniors and so on, but, had the terms been in use, old 
Abraham would still have addressed Roy as a "new one." 

Roy placed one foot on the fence and reached over for the 
bucket, the contents of which induced him to say to Abraham, 
—"May I have a drink of milk right out of the bucket ? I'd 
love to just have a swallow or two." 

"Certainly," said Abraham, "help yourself." 

Balancing the bucket on the top board of the fence. Roy 
tipped it just a bit, and had merely gotten a taste of the 
delicious milk when Frank Tzarbell yelled, "Ho ! I see a mole", 
and jumped over the fence. Roy loosened his hold on the 
bucket, which lunged toward him, and before he realized what 
had happened he was soaked with milk from head to foot. 
His new suit was practically ruined, and this was a calamit}', 
as there were no cleaners in those days. 

The happeni\igs of that day were of no value, mentally or 
morally speaking, but they served to keep Roy awake until al- 
most midnight, while round about him those less impres- 
sionable than he were enjoying the sleep that comes so nat- 
urally and easily to youth. 

33 




CHAPTEK III. • 

HE da}' had arrived when Eoy Keller was to be ini- 
tiated into the meaning of the tenn "Alma Mater". 
Each morning the students and entire household, in- 
cluding Abraham and the servants in the kitchen, as- 
sembled in the so-called Chapel, a room scarcely large 
enough to accommodate all, for the daily service. Lecture hours 
1)egan at 7 :00 a. m., with a recess of ten minutes between each 
hour. 

Ivoy having had the advantage of first class private instruc- 
tion, under Pastor Howe, was enabled to advance beyond many 
who were several years his senior. 

Hardships were endured by not only the students, but the 
professors as Avell. We who enjoy modern conveniences may 
well look back upon that period of fifty years ago and call it 
"romantic", but the professors of Elmhurst could discover no 
romance in such conditions. Those professors were forced to 
endure one hardship of which we have little comprehension 
today. It was the downright ignorance and positive stupidity 
of many of the boys that came from the farm, the workshop, 
and store, with no education. Even the sons of ministers, who 
were in the majority, had, with few exceptions, no more educa- 
tion. This was due to the primitive and "romantic" period 
and proved to be a handicap to promotion, on the one hand, 
and, on the other, a burden and hardship for the professors, 
who, as a rule, were rare scholars from German universities. 
I recall an instance in which Professor Goldway figured. 
His patience was taxed to the utmost one day while endeavor- 



33 



ALMA MATEE 

ing to explain to the class the proper use of the article "Der, 
Die, Das", At length he asked a sturdy young farmer boy, by 
the name of Lefer, to write a sentence on the blackboard with 
the article correctly used. Lefer wrote: 

"Pass auf, gleich liegst du auf die Nase!" 

"Now try it again", said the professor, "it is not right." 

Again Lefer wrote, — 

"Pass auf, gleich faellst du auf der ISTase." 

The professor, who flushed and then turned pale, looked 
steadily at the boy, whom he addressed thus: 

"Lefer, do you know what is in your head?" 

"No, I do not." 

"I thought so, and I want to tell you that there is nothing 
in it. Do you see that straw stack out yonder in the field?" 

"I do." 

"Indeed! Well, if you think you should like to have some- 
thing in your head, go stuff it with some of that straw." 

Other teachers lost control of themselves and said things 
they later regretted, one of them calling the boys such harsh 
names that the entire class refused to enter the class room again 
until the professor should agree to recall his words. The pro- 
fessor saved the day by a manly apology. On the whole, we 
must give the professors credit for what they accomplished with 
their rough and green timber. 

Roy realized his advantage over the others the very first 
hour, when the instructor of Latin referred to some conjunc- 
tion, and asked for an explanation as to its meaning and con- 
nection with a preceding sentence. Roy was the only one in 
the class who could give the required answer, and, Avhile it was 
only a small matter, the boys Avillingly acknowledged that Roy 
was far in advance of them. There was only one of the boys, 

34 



ALMA MATER 

besides Eoy, who had any knowledge of Latin at all, and that 
was little. 

Roy, while not a genius, was intelligent and earnest. Frank 
Tzarbcll might have been termed a near-genius, for he never 
worked hard, and none of his studies ever worried him. He 
tolerated only that which could be learned without effort, 
casting aside all else, yet passing his examinations with high 
honors, while Roy's diligence and grim determination to suc- 
ceed were rewarded by progress and the approbation of his 
teachers. 

Roy evinced a decided love for poetry and possessed no 
little trace of romanticism, which, however, he was in danger of 
losing at Elmhurst, with its prairies, swamps, and railroads. 
Even Bryan's Park, nearby, in which the students were allowed 
to stroll through winding paths under the tall pine trees, failed 
to satisfy Roy, and only the memory of his beloved Ohio scenes 
preserved in him a sense of the beautiful. 

There was a little forest not far from the village, cover- 
ing not more than eight or ten acres, which attracted Roy, al- 
though it could not be compared with the forests of the Ken- 
tucky hills, just on the other side of the beautiful Ohio. Roy 
desired no companionship on his visits to this forest, preferring 
the solitude, Avhich seemed to answer the call of romanticism. 
Sitting on the trunk of a fallen oak tree, he would think, write 
and dream, — his being filled with the beauty of growing things 
— the brown bark and green leaves of the oak tree, violets, 
daisies and forget-me-nots in fence corners, trailing vines of 
wild roses and grapes, with the ever murmuring brook giving 
forth its daily message of cheer. 

Roy was very fond of trees, especially the oak. One day 
in October, when the first flakes of snow lay on the frozen 
ground, he decided to visit the forest, and was soon in his 

35 



ALMA MATER 

customary place on the log of the oak tree. While sitting there, 
his thoughts suddenly reverted to the big oak that stood in 
front of his old home on the farm, and he wondered whether or 
not it was still standing. Then, as was his custom, he began to 
write, and the following composition on the oak tree was duly 
submitted to his teacher for criticism. 

"Of the thousands of oak trees on the hills of Kentucky, 
none was so dear to me as the one standing in front of our old 
home. I have often wondered how old the tree is, — one or two 
hundred years ? 

"Today I fancy I see it again as I did one day at home 
when as a little boy I sat at a frosted window observing the 
winter scene. A cold, bleak wind raged around the old stone 
house, while millions of snowflakes tossed and whirled, but 
seemed not to touch the earth. About fifty yards from my 
window stood the old oak tree, which, despite the fierce and 
howling wind racing over the hilltops, stood firm. Its mighty 
trunk did not yield or bow to the power of the raging storm, 
though the wind tore the remaining leaves from the naked 
boughs and flung them angrily into the meadow. I seem to 
hear, even now, the roar of the wind as it swept thru the 
branches of the oak. It sounded as though a thousand harp- 
strings were resounding to the touch of unseen fingers. It was 
music to my ear and filled my soul with unknown ecstacies. 

"You may speak of spring songs, and I will admit that the 
spring time hath a charm to which the human heart responds 
more readily than to any other, because it is the sweet tenor 
of life, but with what would you compare the majestic and pro- 
found basso of death in Avinter? Have you ever heard it? If 
it touches the heart and soul of a mere boy, should it not force 
its way into the heart of the young man or woman ? 

"Let no one say, — 'Why attach such importance to the oak 

36 - 



ALMA MATER 

tree ? The oak, hickory and pine trees are cut down, sawed and 
trimmed into timber, with whicli we build oiir homes. I see 
nothing of interest or importance in an old, gnarled oak tree.' 

"Not so hasty! Let me remind you of the acorn. Have 
you ever heard it drop? Have you examined the wonderful 
seed, which in itself will attract the attention of any boy? Do 
not forget that from this little seed on the ground, which is 
noticed by few, trampled upon by men and sometimes eaten 
b}^ swine, comes the mighty oak, the giant of the forest. 

"May T, therefore, conclude with a few lines in verse,— 

Covered by the tender snow, 
Deep and low, '' 

Lay the acorn under ground — 
Bearing life unseen, yet bound — 
Will it ever sprout and grow 
Bedded so? 

In the fair and frosty bed. 
Seeming dead, . , ' 

Acorn sleeps in nature's lap, 
Minds not sound, or earthly rap 
Overhead. 

Now it wakes, a sprouting germ. 
Upward growing, quick and firm. 
Casting off its mantels' shell — 
Stately it will raise its head. 
Sway its houghs above the dead, 
Li their bed." 

Roy was pleased with what he had written, but this was 
not the first time he had endeavored to write poetry. When- 
ever he came to the woods he seemed to be poetically inclined. 

Remembering that dinner would probably be ready, Roy 

37 



ALMA MATER 

hurried out of the woods to the road, now free from snow, 
which the October sun had melted. Looking toward Elmhursv, 
lie noticed, about a half mile ahead, a vehicle standing, or rather 
hanging over the edge of a ditch. As he advanced toward the 
place he noticed that a woman was in trouble of some kind, 
and quickened his pace with the intention of offering his serv- 
ices. Before he reached the place of disaster his heart throbs 
conveyed to liiin the intelligence that the young lady in dis- 
tress was no other than Miss ^Mae Brenner. 

]\[iss Brenner was an only daughter, and lived with her 
father on a model stock farm half-way between Elmhurst and 
Lombard. Eoy had been favored M'ith an introduction to Miss 
Brenner at a concert given by the college boys in connection 
with the annual Harvest Festival. Their acquaintance was 
only a casual one, but he had not forgotten her. In fact, her 
impressive blue-gray eyes had haunted him since their short, 
but significant conversation. 

"Of all things, what has happened, ]\[iss Mae?", said Jloy 
as he proceeded to assist her. 

"Can't you see? This is father's balky, gray mare, who 
has insisted upon pushing me into the ditch. I am ditched and 
that is all there is to it." 

"Well, I'll get the critter on the go. watch me!" 

"I can see you doing it, in your mind. Do you know what 
will liappen next?" 

"No, what do you mean?" 

"We are doomed to remain here until her spell of stub- 
bornness is over, and the three of us will go without dinner." 

"O, no, we won't." 

Koy tried in many ways to induce Betsy to move, but she 
would not budge. When he endeavored to lead her by the bri- 
dle, she laid back her ears and shook her head violently while 

38 



ALMA MATER 

her eyes seemed to say, '*(>. no, you won't!*' All ell'orts were 
in vain, and both the boy and girl began to laugh. 

"There is only one thing left to do/' said Miss Mae, "and 
that is to get into the buggy and sit there until Madam Betsy 
starts of her own free will. The buggy is in no position for 
comfort, but I shall climb in." 

She seated herself as best she could and laughingly said, 
'*Now, you are my footman.'' 

Roy stood with his hand on the dashboard of the buggy 
while conyersing with ilae. Neither paid any attention to the 
stubborn animal. 

"Tell me what you are doing here on the country road 
when you should be at work." 

"I have been walking through the woods." 

"What were you hunting in the woods, anything in parii 
cular ?" 

"Well, no, I just love to go there sometimes, because I 
miss my dear old Ohio. It is so monotonous here, — no big for- 
ests, no hills, no river, no — ." 

"Now see here, don't be so particular, — there are some 
good things here, if you will only think so." 

"I beg pardon, — indeed, I admit, though you are forced to 
sit still and I am sure to go without a meal of potatoes and 
kraut, that I am happy to be allowed to speak with you, now 
that—." 

"Never mind that — what were you doing in the woods? 
There is nothing attractive about the woods at this season of 
the year, is there?" 

"I think so, I sat on a big log and — well it was not much, 
but—" 

"But what? Please tell me!" 

"I wrote something." 

39 



ALMA MATEK 

"Now, you were writing letters; may I ask — " 

"No, I was not — honest." 

"May I see what you wrote?" 

"I don't know whether I should let you see it or not." 

"Sec! I thought so, — 0, Mr. Roy Keller, what have you 
been doing? Give an account of yourself." 

"I have no fear in doing so. Look at this and convince 
yourself." 

Mae tried to read what Roy had written with pencil, but 
could not decipher all of it. When she came to the little poem 
her eyes sparkled, she glanced quickly at Roy, and — strange to 
say — now she could read every word, her eyes dancing with 
secret Joy. 

"Is this poem original?" 

"Of course, what's wrong with it?" 

"Nothing, I guess, but — my! Ha, ha, ha! Here goes 
Betsy. Good for you. Good-bye, Mr. Poet." 

Betsy tore along the road for all she was worth, and Roy 
stood gazing after the girl and mare. 

"The idea ! Just when we were getting along so nicely and 
— Great Caesar! She's got my poem. Did you ever?" 

There Avas no need to fret — mare, bugg}^, and girl, even 
the poem gone. What Avould she do with it? This and many 
other questions troubled him as he walked slowly toward the 
college. Dinner was over, but Roy felt no desire to eat. The 
little encounter in the road had eliminated all material desires 
for the time being. Mae's parting words, "Good bye, Mr. 
Poet", rather worried him. Were they intended to convey the 
idea of understanding, acknowledgment and praise, or had they 
been prompted by sarcasm, ridicule and mockery? The un- 
certainty cut Roy to the core. 

As it was Saturday, there were no letures to attend in the 

40 



ALMA MATEK 

afternoon, but the students were expected to work in their 
rooms until four o'clock. Roy remained in his room, but could 
do no work, as his thoughts were with the girl whom he had 
met on the road. Roy's common sense asserted itself, however, 
and, while he knew that he could not and would not forget 
sweet Mae, he decided that study should be given first con- 
sideration, with everything else, including Mae Brenner, oc- 
cupying a secondary place. 

Roy was very fortunate in being able to finish his course 
of stud}' at Elmhurst in two years. This was due to the fact 
that Pastor Howe had so ably and thoroughly prepared him 
for college. In those days of primitive arrangements it was 
impossible to insist upon a course of education such as the 
present day demands. There was great need of young men in 
the service of the Master, and they were put to work in the 
vineyard before they had been fully equipped. Be this as it 
may, it must be acknowledged that some of the very best men 
came to the fold of the clergy from those days of inadequate 
preparation. And it is an established fact that young men who, 
in the estimation of their teachers, lacked natural gifts and in- 
tellectual ability proved themselves, later on, to be strong men 
in every sense of the word. They realized that they were pio- 
neers in the service, and that old Elmhurst, representing a 
pioneer age, was fitting them for just such work. 

Those who were students at Elmhurst in the seventies of 
the last century will gladly admit that a glamor of romance 
hung over those days of Spartan simplicity, despite the fact 
that Roy Keller failed to see even a shade of that glamour, and, 
therefore, betook himself to the little woods nearby to satisfy 
his mind and heart. 

Behold the glamour ! One evening Frank Tzarbell and 
Roy Keller were summoned to appear before the Inspector. 

41 



ALMA MATER 

The old time Senior, the Inspector's right hand, as it were, 
solemnly entered the little study of the two boys, who were 
hovering over an antiquated coal stove that looked like a cor- 
roded stovepipe. They were endeavoring to keep their feet 
and noses warm on this blustery, cold day in January, — a ter- 
rific blizzard having raged for twenty-four hours. The snow 
was so deep that hedges and fences were hidden and roads had 
been rendered impassable — still the snow fell. It was indeed 
a dark and dreary night. 

"What are you doing, boys?" said the Senior. "Is that the 
way to knowledge and wisdom, crouching around the stove? 
You had l»otter work and thus keep warm." 

"ifi that so? ;My fingers are still stiff from shoveling 
snow. Do you ihink I am able to handle a pen or tackle Julius 
Caesar? What can we do for you?" said Frank Tzarbell. 

"You and Roy Keller are wanted by the Inspector at 
once." 

"Indeed! 1 wonder what's up now. Can you guess, Roy?" 

"Search me, my conscience is clear. No accusation here. 
How is it with you?" 

"i don't know, unless it is that I pasted a hard snowball 
on J\liss Nett's shoulder this morning when I entered the coal 
shed to fill my bucket with coal." 

"Xever mind what it's about, come along," said the Senior. 

There was no chance for escape, so they meekly obeyed. 
Just as tliey reached the foot of the stairs Miss Nett stepped 
into the hall and gave Frank Tzarbell a threatening look, but 
of course said nothing. 

"Did you see that ? She deems it a sin to speak to a man, 
but does not hesitate to favor me M'ith a scowl. Be it so." 

"Your conscience is stinging, is it not?" 

"No, but hers will someday." 

42 



al:ma ^iatek 

They knocked at the Inspector's door, and, upon bein;^ in- 
vited to enter, reverently 1)ade the Inspector a good evening. 

"Ah, yes, thank you. I had almost forgotten I am so 
busy." 

Tzarbell do you think you can get to Chicago tomorrow 
with the big bob sled? I have a mission for you two, and you 
will have to go in the sled." 

"I know I can if the horses hold out." 

The Inspector gave tlie boys minute instructions, and be- 
fore daybreak they were on their way to Chicago. They suc- 
ceeded in reaching the city, and returned with a load of gro- 
ceries; but their fingers and noses were frostbitten. That 
night as Tzarbell crept into bed he said to Eoy: 

"Do you know, I wish ]\Iiss Xett needed a nose, for in that 
case I could give her mine, and I know she would quit 'nosing 
around.' " 

Behold the glamour! There was a little village about 
three miles north of Elmhurst, known as Addison, and some- 
times a tramp to that point on Sunday was much enjoyed. In 
those days it was customary for country people to travel from 
six to eight miles in order to attend church. In winter when 
the roads were covered with snow, with the thermometer regis- 
tering twenty degrees or more below zero, the farmer would 
hitch his horses to a bob sled, pile the entire family into it, 
wrap them up in Buffalo robes, and off they would go to church. 
Why shouldn't the students go? As there was no church at 
Elmhurst, it was understood that they should attend ser\icc, 
even at a distance. They were not, however, placed on bob- 
sleds and wrapped in Buffalo robes, but were compelled to 
march all the way. They were told that was a lesson in Spar- 
tan simplicity. 

As a rule, after a march in goose-step fashion over roads 

43 



ALMA MATEK 

covered with two feet of snow, they were rewarded by hearing 
Mr. Lusenhop sing and play the small reed organ. Never had 
there been such singing in a country church. Mr. Lusenhop, 
who had charge of the parochial school, hailed from Germany, 
where the art of singing is a matter of heart and soul. This 
musician had a strong desire to demonstrate his ability, and 
thus educate as well as entertain the students. No one who 
had the pleasure of attending service in the country church of 
Addison will ever forget Professor Lusenhop. 

In summer it was different. At this season of the year 
the lads marched in the heat of the sun, with beads of pers- 
piration dripping from their foreheads, but they considered the 
experience sport, to an extent. This feeling was intensified 
when one, Theodore Krueger, conceived the idea of giving 
the bo\'S a bit of military training, so that they might event- 
ually march to Addison like real soldiers. Krueger did not 
claim to be a relative of Ohm Krueger, the once famous and 
beloved President of the Boers of Africa, but he did claim to 
have been active in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 as an 
officer. His meager education, however, proved him to be a 
prevaricator. At any rate, we paid no attention to that side 
of the question. The boys were so filled with the military 
spirit that they "fell to" and were soon marching like soldiers, 
in long columns, four abreast, to attend services in Addision. 

No sooner had the boys learned enough to keep step than 
the question of uniforms arose. Measurements were taken by 
a Jewish tailor in Chicago, and the order filled, to the complete 
dissatisfaction of all concerned. Such misfits were these uni- 
forms that only now and then would a boy appear in one. 
The whole affair was considered a failure, the money wasted; 
and the military craze died out. 

Behold the glamour ! It may not be so now, but during the 

. . 44 - . 



ALMA MATEE 

time that Eo}^ Keller was a student at Elmhurst the gardening 
and work in the fields had to be done by the students, — in fact, 
they had to do everything, except the cooking and laundering. 
Some enjoyed this part, not on acount of their familiarity with 
the work, but because it was "so novel."' Their work was "so 
novel" that it was inferior. Those who came from farms and 
understood all about the work were angered, because they 
were required to handle the spade and pitchfork. They argued 
thus, — "It was not for this that we came to Elmhurst." Others, 
instinctively, as it were, shirked all manual labor, but escape 
was not easy, as the senior who was appointed to oversee 
this part of the work could overlook or report such boys, ac- 
cording to his pleasure. There were some seniors who, re- 
membering their own labor in the fields, were lenient with the 
boys, while there were those who seemed to enjoy reporting the 
shirker to the Inspector. 

There are not many living today who remember such days 
at Elmhurst, but those who do recall them considered them, at 
that time, far from romantic. 

Once more, behold the glamour! There was one rule that 
the boys had to learn at the beginning, — "Smoking not 
allowed before eighteen." It is useless to comment on the wis- 
dom or absurdity of this rule, — suffice it to say, it remained a 
dead letter. "Woe to the boy under age that was caught smok- 
ing — there was trouble ahead for him. 

Neither Frank Tzarbell nor Eoy Keller had celebrated his 
eighteenth birthday as yet, but both were fond of smoking. 
Eoy had acquired the habit while working on the Ohio river. 
He was not the sort of boy to break a common sense rule de- 
liberately, but even he considered this prohibitive measure as 
one with but little, if any, common sense. 

It seems queer, but Frank Tzarbell and two other boys had 

45 



ALMA MATES 

the habit of rising early, even before daybreak, in order that 
they might reach the barn before Abraham, whose duty it was 
to feed the horses, cows, chickens and hogs. It stands to 
reason, they would not have done this to make use of the gold- 
en morning hours, so to speak, so far as their studies were con- 
cerned. They would crawl into the loft, and there, sitting in 
the hay, they would smoke. Luckily no conflagration ever oc- 
cured, but this shows what boys who were otlierwise good will 
be led to do. 

\t one time there was a senior, Peter Longnecker, who 
was a terror to the secret smoker. His name was well applied, 
as he was not only tall, with a long, thin neck, but had long 
legs. 

Peter got on the trail of the "smoking gang" through 
some one that "knew." One morning he allowed the boys to 
slip out of their beds for a smoke of "Bull Durham" in the safety 
of the hayloft, then rose and followed. 

The boys, liowever, had been "put next" by one who was al- 
most a tobacco fiend, so fond was he of the devil's weed. This 
was no other than Johnny Brelz, an Indiana lad, a jolly good 
fellow, who sounded the warning on the way to the barn. 

"See here, Tzarbell, I got wind of Longnecker s intention. 
You know his bed is near mine, and I noticed that he was vratcli- 
ing us from under the covers. Let us beware!" 

"That's all right, we'll beat him at his own game. Let's 
go to the potato patch instead. AVe'll hide behind the big 
pile of potatoes that have been sacked." 

"Fine idea", said Bretz. "I would not miss my smoke for 
two Longneckers, father and son. Dod gast it, anyway. He 
had better look out, conslamity, durhamity !" 

"But suppose he should find us", Eoy timidly inquired, as 
he dreaded being reported. 

46 



ALMA MATER 

"Let him come." 

"Yes, let him come", cried Bretz, "conslamity, durhamity, 
jet him come. Here, fill your pipes." 

This time Bretz was the provider of the deadly weed. Like 
a bunch of pilferers they skipped over the dewy field to the 
potato bags that lay in a heap. Judging from the smoke that 
was soon to be seen rising from behind the breastworks, one 
might have imagined himself transported to an Indian camp in 
the wilds. Suddenly, — "Up from the South, at break of day," 
the enemy appeared in tlie distance, and when the boys saw him 
Tzarbell gave the command: 

"All hands in the potato bags, each of you grab as many as 
possible, then^upon him." 

So it happened. Peter Longnecker then and there was 
bombarded with potatoes and forced to retreat. For many days 
thereafter he was forced to appear with swollen eyes and arti- 
ficial blue bulbs on the back of his head. 

The saddest part of that affair, however, was the telltale 
annual report. Each boy was given five black marks for bad 
behavior in exchange for bravery in that morning attack. Such 
papers were not very plasant to take home, and it was not long 
until affairs of this kind were abolished. 

Eoy Keller learned a lesson that he did not soon forget, 
and none of his reports ever again bore black-marks. He re- 
gretted the potato bombardment, though he felt that it was 
in order as it served to teach Peter Longnecker a much needed 
lesson. 

On the whole, strict discipline prevailed in the school and, 
in connection therewith, very plain living, which was wholesome 
for body and soul. Many things were antiquated and inappro- 
priate, but the spirit that reigned at old Elmhurst was the one 
by which the Evangelical Church in America profited. Though 

47 



ALMA MATER 

most of the students of those days have been crowned with 
snowwhite hair, they are at the hehn of the Church, 

That evening Frank Tzarbell took Roy aside and said to 
him, "Let's take a walk in Bryan's Park." Roy was pleased 
with the invitation, for he had been out of sorts more or less all 
day on account of that early attack on Longnecker. 

The two boys had formed a friendship during the winter, 
but not until lately had Tzarbell shown any decided signs of be- 
ing drawn particularly toward Roy. ISTow there seemed to be a 
subconscious attraction which helped Tzarbell to discover tal- 
ents and gifts in Roy not before observed, though he had been 
aware of Roy's good qualities and firm determination to learn 
and progress. 

When they had turned the corner on the old board walk 
Tzarbell began to speak: 

"Tell me, Roy, where did you get that beautiful voice? 
When you sang, '0 Lord, have mercy', last Sunday I was simply 
charmed. I do not wish to flatter you — that is hypocritical — 
but I really mean it." 

"I'm sure I don't know, unless the great Giver of all good 
gifts gave it to me. The fact that I was reared on the banks of 
the beautiful Ohio, and was permitted to sing in the open with 
deck-hands on a steamboat, may have had something to do 
with the development of my voice. I did not belong to the 
river, but I loved it nevertheless. Did you ever hear a gang of 
rough men who, under shaggy exteriors, often wear hearts and 
souls infinitely more kind and sweet than people with fine 
clothes and plenty of money — did you ever hear such men 
sing at night under the full moon ? And, Frank, it's a treat no 
mortal can forget to hear real negro melodies as I once heard 
them sung by negroes coming from the old plantations. One 
song I remember especially, not only the melody, but part of 

48 



AL]\rA MATER 

the words also, though it was sung only once, and then hy a 
mixed quartet." 

"What was it? Can you sing it?" 

"Surely." 

"For the sake of sweet old dame muse, sing it. I want to 
hear it." 

The sun had set, and they had reached the narrow gravel 
walk under the tall pine trees. Enshrouded by the falling 
shades of evening in harmony with the unseen wings of night, 
Roy sang in his mellow clear tenor: 

In de mornin' — 

In de mornin' by the bright light, 
When Gabriel blows his trumpet — 
In de mornin' ! 

0, hurry up, ye chillern, fo' I mus go. 
An' chillern, chillern won't you follow me, 
Whar de wind done blow 
An' de rain done fall an' — 
Hal— la, hal— la, hal— hi— luli— jah ! 
In de mornin'. 
"Sing it again please." 

So Roy, upon Frank's request, sang this and similar melo- 
dies again and again. At length Frank burst out: 

"Do you know, Roy, the negro is the real American singer. 
Think of it, we have no real folk songs, with the probable ex- 
ception of Stephen Foster's compositions, and I doubt whether 
we shall ever have any real ones. What fun it would be if we 
could get together and sing American folk songs! Instead, we 
sing those of the wonderful German nation, that has produced 
thousands — and then some. Thank God we have them, and so 

49 



ALMA MATEE 

far they have no equal. What do you say to learning the negro 
songs ? They are the next best." 

"Would we be allowed to ?" 

"We'll do it secretly — we'll go to the woods and sing to the 
trees — to the oaks, the hemlocks, the maples and the — it mat- 
ters not — to the birds. We can't afford to forget them, but that 
reminds me, what on earth has been attracting you to the 
woods so often these past few weeks?" 

"I, to the woods? Who has been telling you that?" 

"Guilty, are you?" 

"Guilty of what?" 

"I don't know, but I'll tell you — now don't get peevish over 
it — is there any truth in the story that Bretz and Miller are 
telling? They insist that you write verses — sometimes called 
poetry — and that you mail such stuff — to Miss Mae Brenner." 

Roy welcomed the night, for he did not care to show his 
face at this critical moment; flushed with emotion, but he re- 
plied, speaking in as natural a tone as possible: — 

"Xonsense — come let's go back, it is time to turn in." 

"Of course you don't have to tell me, but I thought you 
might. It would give me pleasure to congratulate you." 

"I don't see why." 

"Well I do, because one who can gain Mae Brenner's 
friendship is lucky." 

"What makes you say that?" 

"Because I know. Didn't she give me the grand bounce 
about a year ago? She was nice and dignified about it, how- 
ever, — said she was too young to think of such things." 

"Well let's be going." 

The boys had nothing more to say as they retraced their 

50 



ALMA MATEE 

steps to the College. As they iiearcd the building they heard 
and saw signs of a great commotion. Upon inquiry they learned 
that one of the boys in getting up from his desk had bumped 
his head against a lamp that hung over the desk, causing an ex- 
plosion that nearly resulted in the boy's death. There was 
little sleep for the faculty or students that night, as the young 
fellow lay battling for his life. Though badly burned, the youth 
was spared, and great was the relief when it yas learned that the 
boy's injuries would not prove fatal. 

The danger of oil lamps was fully realized, but it was a long 
time before the College was in a position to do away with them. 

The following day Koy Keller experienced more excitement, 
though of a ditferent nature. He received a letter from Kobert 
Jiecker who Avrote as follows: 
Dear Roy: 

I can imagine your surprise, and am sure you won't know 
into which corner to look first after you have read what I am 
going to do. I am coming to Elmhurst at the beginning of 
the next semester. It won't be so long anymore, will it? Of 
course you wonder how I Teached this decision. Let me tell 
you. You remember when I bade you farewell that night on 
your porch, 1 said I might come to Elmhurst later. xA.t that time 
I was very much dissatisfied with myself, but could find no way 
out of my dilemma. 

You know I have a fairly good education. I have attended 
Shadyside Academy here right along, but could never forget 
you and your school at Elmhurst. I wanted to go, but was 
afraid to tell my father, when — you remember, we wrote you 
that — father died suddenly, of heart failure. His sudden and 
sad death moved me very much, and helped me to screw up 
enough courage to tell mother of my intention. Mother was 

61 



ALMA MATEE 

so grief-stricken, she did not oppose my coming. That's the 
long and short of it. Now I am glad, for something within me 
tells me that all will be well with me. So after your vacation, 
which you no doubt will spend at home, you and I will go back 
to old Elmhurst together. 

1 know you are getting along fine, and am anxious to see 
you. 

Sincerely yours, 

Robert Becker. 

That was pleasant news to Roy, who was glad that Robert 
had at last reached such a happy conclusion. "It will help him 
wonderfully,"' said Roy as he landed on his pillow. Then his 
thoughts drifted away from old Ohio, the river, even Robert 
Becker ; until shortly before his eyes closed in sleep he thought 
of a little poem he was trying to compose. It was all about 
daisies in the field, stars in the heavens above and the red bird 
calling to his mate — and a girl in a white dress with pink stripes 
and — and — Roy had fallen asleep. 







s^ W/iJi 



52 



CHAPTEK IV. 




HE old time "fauiulus" has disappeared at Elmhurst. 
It may be of interest to know what his business was. 
The famulus was no invention, but a survival of 
European university life. "Famulus" is a Latin word 
meaning servant, helper, and in a special sense the 
helper of a learned person like a professor. 

The famulus was the factotum in the professor's house, if 
the professor was married, otherwise his duties were confined to 
the professor's apartment. The famulus was appointed l)y the 
Inspector, and sometimes the same student acted in this capac- 
ity for the same professor from one to three years, for the sim- 
ple reason that he did his work well and was liked by the pro- 
fessor and his family. 

Yet the famulus Avas not envied by others, especially not 
by the native-born, who as a rule had it in for the famulus. It 
was a rare case for a native-born to serve as famulus, because 
his sense of freedom rebelled against a custom transplanted from 
European schools to ours. 

This objection may be justified in a sense, but after all it 
seems to indicate a false pride. Let it be remembered, those 
boys that served as famuli received a good and timely lesson how 
to serve others. Xo one ever suffered or lost out by such serv- 
ice if he served faithfully, on the contrary the famulus was 
treated with delicacy and noble consideration by the professor. 
There were exceptions. For instance, when the famulus al- 



ALMA MATEE 

lowed himself to be degraded or degraded himself to a mere 
family nurse, or took upon himself duties of questionable merit, 
then he had no recourse when his fellow students ridiculed him 
as a mere slave. But that rarel}^, if ever, occurred. On the 
whole the famulus had a good job and preferred it to working 
in the field or elsewhere. He enjoyed a certain freedom de- 
spite his dutiful service. He had an opportunity of becoming 
acquainted with the professor and his family, which procured 
for him the advantage of social intercourse. At certain times, 
such as birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve- 
ning, the professor never failed to invite his famulus to enjoy the 
evening with his family. It stands to reason that young men 
not accustomed to refinement and culture had an opportunity 
to learn some valuable lessons for a life in the pastoral field. 

The famulus not only had duties to perform, but enjoyed 
peculiar privileges also. One professor made good use of his 
famulus and certainly got all he could out of him, but on the 
other hand treated him well, allowing him to take his wife and 
children out driving in the old fashioned ])haeton. The famulus 
was also invited to dinners and social affairs. 

Another professor was a single man, and his famulus had 
a fine time. One day the professor, having planned a trip to 
Chicago, informed his famulus that he would not return be- 
fore midnight. The famulus, takiiig advantage of the profes- 
sor's absence, invited a number of close friends to spend the 
evening with him in the professor's rooms. They readily ac- 
cepted and planned a fine dinner, which they intended to pre- 
pare themselves. There was no time to lose, so preparations 
were soon under way. The table was set in the professor's liv- 
ing room, the so-called dining room being too small and not 
conforming to their ideas of propriety. Had the menu been 
printed, it would in all probability have read thus: 

54 



ALMA MATER 

MENU 

Soup : Cream of Imagination 

Sour Grapes Pickles 

Cold leg of Lamb — ilostly Leg Salad : a la Elmhurstiana 

Hard Tack Biscuits with New Orleans Molasses 

Chips of Mental Sagacity Corncobs in smoke 

Coffee noir de terre 

The young men made the best of it, however, while the 
famulus served each course with dignity, acting meanwhile as 
toastmaster. When they arrived at "Chips of Mental Sagacity" 
he called on each one to enrich the joyous occasion with a spark 
from his mental storehouse. After two had spoken, the one on 
Bohemian Life, the other on Flora Elmhurstiana, meaning 
Elmhurst Belles, he called on Frank Tzarbell, who, as a matter 
of course, spoke on "Art Philosophy". Tzarbell rose, still hold- 
ing the corncob between his snowy teeth, then, in his dry man- 
ner, began : 

"Mr. Famulus, toastmaster and fellow students! You 
seem to see in me a philosopher; I wish this were true. But let 
me tell you, I scarcely know what our honorable toastmaster 
means by "Art Philosophy". I presume, however, he heard 
that big word used by some one and now thinks he can impose 
it on me. 

"But what is the world coming to, anyway? So many 
things are 'studied' to day of which no one would have dreamt 
years ago. In the 'good old times' one would study for the min- 
istry, take a course in law or medicine, or prepare himself as a 
teacher — and that would end the possibilities; but today the 
wellnigh impossible — that which is most intricate, is 'studied,' 
and we may soon expect courses on 'how to become a first- 
class famulus'. 

55 



ALMA MATER 

"Here we see one using all his mental power for the ex- 
clusive study of how to build machines, like Joe Lieber, who 
tried — no, who actually claimed to have discovered perpetual 
motion. When I said to him, if that were true he might as 
well give me a million dollars now as later, he stared at me in 
confusion which convinced me that his mind was not well bal- 
anced, and sure enough later he died in an insane asylum. An- 
other one studies dentistry, or the art of raising one up from 
one's seat at the mercy of his prongs applied to one's wisdom 
tooth just to show that other means are known to mankind to- 
day to raise people from their seats than Theodore Thomas' Or- 
chestra or a Eepublican National Convention. Sometimes 
dentistry is 'studied' because men want to go to Europe and 
treat potentates for big royal fees and then come back to good 
old America as rich men and — besmirch His Royal Majesty. 
But it is a rule with the dentist to get your wisdom tooth in 
case you have one or two. I can say for myself with pride, I 
have none, in fact I have never had any, which is, if I am cor- 
rectly informed, according to Darwin's 'Theory of Evolution' a 
remarkable distinction and a notable sign of refinement. 

"But — 'Art Philosophy' — my friends and fellow stu- 
dents, let me say to you, if I know anything about it, in these 
days of modern research, of which our school is a model par ex- 
cellence, art philosophy has gained such tremendous range that 
no one is capable of controlling the entire field. The result is 
— a horde of specialists! We have those who study Raphael 
only. One is an ardent student of Duerer, another of Rem- 
brandt, and a fourth focusses all his pointed inquisitiveness on 
an unnoticed sculptor, bringing him to renown and fame even 
two hundred years after his death. Indeed, I know that lately 
one of these art philosophers conceived the idea of putting all 
his energy into the study of hands and ears to be found in the 

56 



ALMA MATER 

paintings of the great masters, and then he wrote a book as 
thick as Webster's Dictionar}' on his discoveries. 

"I admit, I love to visit the art museum whenever I go to 
Chicago, but don't care to remain longer than an hour or so. I 
love to see the painting of the old man in the sealskin cap and 
with the carnation in his hand, for the longer I scrutinize such 
works of art the more life-like appears the figure of the old man. 
Then, I do admire the old witch with the screech-owl on her 
shoulder, because I almost split my sides laughing until a por- 
ter wants to know whether my equilibrium is out of whack. And 
I never forget to take a long look at the picture of three beau- 
tiful girls, whose dresses are a trifle short, but very, very attrac- 
tive! Finally I must not forget to mention a man, a man — well 
he simply was a man like Adam and his glistening white body 
is pierced with arrows, and arrows still come through the air. 

"Now you think I have lost the thread of my discourse on 
art philisophy. On the contrary, I imagine I have skillfully 
entertained you so far with preliminary remarks only, and I 
shall now enter into the very depths of my theme like the pas- 
tor at the last mission festival. Two pastors were to speak. 
The first speaker, who in later jears occupied a chair in a 
certain theological seminary, began his discourse, and after he 
had spoken three quarters of an hour the pastor loci drew his 
watch and held it up so that the strongbearded man in the pul- 
pit might understand the sign, but he spoke on. At last, after 
an hour and fifteen minutes had been — pardon me, Mr. Toast- 
master — had been wasted, the man with his watch in his hand 
called — TIME ! Afterwards, in the parsonage, the professor de- 
manded an explanation as to the outrage that had been per- 
petrated on him. Then and there he claimed not to have fin- 
ished his introduction. But I have finished mine. 

"So now, may I — " 

57 



ALMA MATEE 

Somebody -was coming up the stairs. Tzarbell was silent. 
The famulus ran to the door to take a peep, and there stood the 
professor who was supposed to be in Chicago. He had come 
back unexpectedly, like the proverbial cat, but as he was a good 
man, despite his odd name — Myerebb, he smiled and said: 

"Well, boys, I hope you have had a good time. Is there 
an3'thing left for me?" 

"Nothing but sour grapes, sagacity chips and hot corn- 
cobs", said P>ank Tzarbell. 

"All right, let's have some." 

In the presence of the professor the jolly evening was con- 
tinued and — the famulus had become dearer than ever to the 
professor. 

Now since the name of the professor is known, there is 
something of singular interest which must not be overlooked. 

Shortly after that innocent dinner with the stingy menu 
Professor Myerebb exhibited a spirit of animosity toward one 
John Manhurst. The cause for this was not discovered until 
the famulus intervened and sifted the matter to the bottom. It 
came about in this wise. 

Professor Myerebb was the instructor in literature, and 
young Manhurst was one of his pupils. One day the professor 
entered the classroom and at once asked Ben Morehouse this 
question : 

"Is there a passage in literature that you prefer, or, let me 
sa}', have you a so-called favorite poem?" 

"I have", answered Ben. 

"I am anxious to know what it is. Can you quote a line of 
it?' 

The boy rose awkwardly, yet read the following lines cor- 
rectly : 

58 



ALMA MATER 

"It was many and many a year ago, 

In a kingdom by the sea, 

That a maiden there lived whom you may know 

By the name of Annabell Lee; 

And this maiden she lived with no other thought 

Than to love and to be loved by me." 

"Good; that shows most excellent taste to quote Edgar Al- 
lan Poe. Now, Manhurst, if you, too, have a favorite poem, let 
me hear a line or two." 

John Manhurst was afflicted somewhat like Moses, he was 
"not eloquent, slow of speech and tongue". Encouraged, how- 
ever, by the kind words the professor addressed to Ben More- 
house, he rose, stammered a little, but finally managed to speak 
without a quiver of the tongue: 

When your heart in secret love is pining — 
0', beware ! I^t no one dare to meddle ! 

The professor stood dumbfounded for a second, his face 
flushed and blanched in turn, but he refrained from speaking. 
The trouble was he was engaged to be married to the Inspec- 
tor's sister and, thinking the boy knew of this, he took it as an 
insult from Manhurst to refer to this sweet affair of his heart 
in such a covert manner. Thanks to the intervention of the 
famulus, Manhurst was reinstated as persona grata by the pro- 
fessor. — 

If it were possible for the walls of the class rooms to 
sliriek out, remarkable incidents would be heard to prove the 
fact that ignorance is })liss. Some of these are preserved. One 
day the instructor in Bible Histor}^ demanded that John Schepp 
should relate the story of Isaac. The boy boldly began the 
story and, not conscious of innocently making a statement 
against the order of nature, he went on to say : "And Isaac gave 
birth to two sons, Jacob and Esau." 

59 



ALMA MATER 

On another occasion the professor said : 

"Tell me, who built Noah's Ark?" 

The bright boy answered : "Isaac." 

In physics the professor explained elaborately that the old 
assumption of four elements was wrong and that we really know 
of sixty elements. In the next lesson in physics the professor 
gave a test to ascertain whether his lecture had fallen flat or 
not. William Folle wore an irredeemably torn coat. Looking 
him over, the professor said: 

"William, how many elements are there ?" 

"Four." 

"Four? W^hy not five? Is not your old torn coat an ele- 
ment ? If you have your coat on your body, may you not say : 
'I feel myself in my element?'" 

Naturally this was applauded by the entire class with a 
great volley of laughter. 

However, it was not only in the class room that funny in- 
cidents occurred. Young boys are up to pranks and escapades, 
especially at college. We would not consider them real boys 
were it otherwise. The fact that Elmhurst College is and al- 
ways has been an institution with decided religious influence 
does not alter the inclination toward committing harmless 
pranks, nor do these stamp the boys irreligious or impious, 
though there were boys at school who considered themselves 
too pious to Jump the track at times. Let not those who live 
in glass houses throw stones! 

Here is a story to exemplify. It was Saturday and the 
housekeeper had been busy baking the inevitable Kuchen for 
Sunday. With the kitchen a roomy storehouse was combined 
where all good things to eat were safely kept. On the same day 
a barrel of New Orleans molasses had been hauled up from the 
station by Abraham, but had not as yet been stored away. 

60 



ALMA MATER 

It was late and he had left it outside, directly under one of the 
windows of the storeroom. It was an easy matter for several 
boys to enter through one of the windows. When inside, they 
suddenly heard the door open, and the housekeeper with candle 
in hand entered. All scrambled for the window, but one boy 
in great haste and in pursuit of freedom jumped out of the 
wrong window and landed full-weight on the top of the molasses 
barrel, the cover of which gave way, and he sank softly to the 
bottom of it. Standing erect in the barrel, the weight of the 
boy pressed the sweet stuff out over the barrel, freely sweetening 
also mother earth. The splash and the scream brought the 
other pilferers to the spot. They forgot all about the cake, but 
had all the molasses and more than they looked for. As a mat- 
ter of fact, the boys' punishment consisted of the payment of 
one barrel of New Orleans molasses ! 

Neither Roy Keller nor Frank Tzarbell were with the 
would-be raiders. Be it said to Roy's honor, he kept aloof from 
pranks of questionable nature, though he was no angel and 
occasionally enjoyed a lark. The two boys were thrown to- 
gether more than ever and became fast friends. Therefore, 
when more room in the house was needed something happened 
that suited both Roy and Frank. Roy was more than pleased, 
for he saw his wish coming true regarding Frank Tzarbell. 

On the same floor of the dormitory, at the north end of 
the building, there were two small rooms. One was the official 
lockup, and it is an established fact that in the past boys were 
locked up in it for bad behavior. Of course, such occurrences 
were rare, and it may be assumed with certainty the lockup is 
not known to Elmhurst students today. 

However, it is not the lockup of which I wish to speak, but 
the small room next to it. Roy and Tzarbell were ordered to 
move their belongings to that room. Nothing could have 

61 



ALMA MATER 

pleased them better, for they had coveted the room for some 
time. Now it was to be their "little home" for the remainder 
of their stay at Elmhurst. — 

One evening something happened in the dining room at the 
instigation of Roy and Tzarbell. The Superintendent had 
planned an innovation and was very explicit in his explanation 
to the pupils at breakfast and dinner. In order to avoid a gen- 
eral rush for the doors after meals, he had decreed that every 
table (there were five or six long tables) be numbered. The 
meal being ended, he would call the number of the table, then 
only those of that particular table were to leave the dining room 
in good order. The boys laughed and poked fun at the idea, 
as boys will do, but it did not end there. Presently they found 
a way to frustrate the Superintendent's plan. All the boys of 
the first table were hurriedly sunmiond into the little frame 
house near the barn. In fact that was the "smoke house", 
meaning the house where those over eighteen were allowed to 
smoke. Two small rooms were set apart for that purpose, and 
tne room adjoining was "Abraham's Apartment!" 

Frank Tzarbell and Roy Keller explained just what they 
thought was the proper thing to do, just for fun! Their plan 
was adopted in a few minutes, and the conspirators left the 
"smoke house", seemingly indifferent. 

Supper over, the Superintendent announced: "First table 
arise!" And it did, for the students took hold of it, lifted it 
above their heads and held it there until the entire studentbody 
gave one yell of applause. That settled the innovation. It was 
never enforced. 

"We term those days the pioneer age of the Evangelical 
Church to which Elmhurst College meant so much, yet those 
were the days when young men at our colleges were being 
stirred to self-consciousness and began to throw off the shackles 

62 



ALMA MATEE 

of antiquated drudgery in body and soul. Great battles were 
fought, but the greatest battles and victories are not fought or 
won in the field with cannon and shell, but in studentlife, for 
in this sphere of peaceful strife young men equip themselves 
to combat with the brute force which lies latent in all of us. To 
attain to self-determination is a glorious goal worthy of the best. 

It does not follow that our boys in those pioneer days were 
conscious of what it all meant or should mean to them, for they 
would not have been boys of a great and free country — though 
many had come from foreign shores — had they felt the 
inconsistency of some burdens laid upon them. The spirit of 
freedom, not licentiousness, had taken possession of them. 
That does not mean that such a spirit improperly fostered will 
not degenerate into recklessness even in a college like Elm- 
hurst. 

One of the many things that seemed almost unbearable to 
some of the boys was the restriction pertaining to so-called ac- 
quaintances with the other sex. No one was allowed to visit 
families in the village, not to mention young girls in particular, 
without the permission of the Inspector. It is, of course, of no 
avail to enter into a discussion as to the prudence of this rule; 
suffice it to say the men at the helm of the school deemed it 
wise and the best thing for the boys in those days. Whether or 
not too much freedom is allowed in this respect today is a de- 
batable question. Be that as it may, then and there they felt 
the restriction an unworthy one, and the result was much tress- 
passing of the rule. In fact it was more or less a dead letter. 

Roy, for one, was ruffled in spirit every time he thought of 
that restriction. He did not, nor could he forget Mae Brenner. 
It seemed against human nature. Of course, he did not pro- 
claim to the entire studentbody from the housetops "Mae Bren- 
ner is my sweetheart," nor did he hide the fact from his friends 

63 



ALMA MATER 

as an unworthy committal, but when he felt a desire to see her 
he would promptly ask for permission to pay a visit to Mr. 
Carl Brenner and daughter. That again does not imply that 
he avoided seeing her in secret when opportunity made it pos- 
sible. All this caused Eoy some uneasiness. Others would 
sneak away to pay visits to girls, and no one ever knew a thing 
about it till the day came when again an Elmhurst girl was 
united in marriage to one of the former students. 

Frank Tzarbell had no time, nor seemingly any sympathy 
for girls, but secretely he enjoyed Roy's affair with sweet Mae 
Brenner, for it was so honest, clean and ideal. Though the 
two were young, yet it seemed to him that in course of time 
a love affair would be the pleasantest thing imaginable. So 
far it was an ideal friendship — at least he could not detect 
anything deeper. Frank was well informed, even though Roy 
had not disclosed his secret to his best friend as yet. 

Roy Keller and Frank Tzarbell were taking their usual 
stroll after supper to Bryan's Park. It was one of those ideal 
June days that charm the youth to whom the whole world is as 
open as the sky — one of those days that was now slipping into 
the folds of night after giving much sunshine and joy to an un- 
sophisticated youth like Roy Keller. He was thrilled with un- 
usual emotion as the sun gradually dropped below the horizon. 
After the experience of that day Roy's thoughts were an un- 
intelligible jumble, as it were; all he could think was: 
Azure heaven and sunny days 
Pass away in molten gold, — 
I can not in plain words say 
All that I have to unfold. 

Roy sang these lines in an undertone as they walked into 
the park. 

"What was that ? Where did you get it?" 

64 



ALMA MATER 

"Didn't get it — it just came." 

"The idea of saying, "it just came'! Where did it conu; 
from, and how?" 

"■As the wind comes, and the flowers and goodness and love 
• — how do I know?" 

"Still it came — eh? What have you to unfold for whicli 
you find no words? Koy, you are keeping something from me." 

" 'Tis true, Frank, — T am happy — so happy that I am at a 
loss to find adequate words to express my feelings." 

"^V^lat is it all about ? Is it just because you tliink so 
much of ]\rae Brenner?" 

"I suppose that's it, Frank." 

"Why, man, you are not in love with her?" 

"I don't know; if my feelings toward her stand for any- 
thing, then- — 1 suppose I've been hit, but — maybe its simply 
some form oi liappiness." 

"Roy, I don't believe there is such a thing as lov(>. At any 
rate you are entirely too young, and so is Mae Brenner, to en- 
tertain such feelings as you have just mentioned." 

"Why should we be too young?" 

"Because such feelings do not present themselves in a re- 
liable manner until you have almost reached the thirtieth year, 
at least that's what I have read." 

"Well, Frank, it does not matter much as to wliat you have 
read; I don't know — as I said before, I don't know what it is, 
but I do know that I like ]\Iae Brenner. And what makes me 
especially happy is the fact that she seems to like me also. 
Surely you can understand that. The first time I saw you my 
heart went out to you, and I hoped you and I would be good 
friends some day. And so we are. Would you like to see your 
friendship shattere«l?" 

"No, of course, not; but love is not friendship—" 



ALMA MATEE 

"Beg pardon, I believe love is true friendship in its high- 
est form, — it is an unconditional surrender of one to another, 
and each seems to find his or her ideal in the other person. It 
is—" 

"So, there you are ! Now you may tell Mae all about it. 
Slic will not mince words either, but she'll prove to you what 
love is. I wish you much luck." 

They were near Mr. Bryan's beautiful residence when a 
lady descended the flight of marble steps just as Frank made his 
sarcastic remarks. They met and Roy's embarrasment was evi- 
dent, as he had not expected to see Mae Brenner here at this 
time of day — at dusk. She greeted the boys with a pleasant 
smile and a cheery word. 

"Good evening! You two remind me of philosophers 
quarrelling over some profound question without finding the 
answer." 

"Miss Mae, you have guessed correctly as far as the ques- 
tion is concerned, but as to philosopliers, — what say you, Roy ?" 
Roy felt that he should say something, but he knew not what, 
so he stammered: 

"I am sure I don't know, Frank; I— that is — we did not ex- 
pect to meet you here, Miss Mae — " 

"Now, Roy, you had better count me out," said Frank. 

"0, Mr. Tzarbell, why should you — " 

"I beg pardon, Miss Mae; Ro}^, listen, I forgot to mention 
it. I want to go to John Most's to purchase some — some — o 
yes, now I know— kippered herring. You see. Miss Mae, Roy 
and I are fast becoming bachelors, and every Monday, that is on 
washday— this is Monday, is it not? — well, on washdays we 
enjoy a meal of this peculiar species of pisces — that is the Latin 
word for fish, Miss Mae ; and don't you know, Roy, you and I 
were so utterly absorbed in a discussion as to the founding of 

f56 



ALMA MATEK 

iJome by Romulus that we forgot that kippered fish. I'll just 
rush down to John Most's, and if he is sober I know I'll get 
the proper fish, — but if under the influence of John Barleycorn, 
then — then I am almost positive I'll get two instead of one, so 
I'll just slip along. By the time you return to your room, Roy, 
the herring will be prepared and ready to be devoured, and I 
fancy you'll be hungry for it. Good-bye, Miss Mae, good-bye!" 

"Well, did you ever see such a man! AVhat is the matter 
with him ? Is he afraid of me ?", said Mae. 

"0 no, Frank Tzarbell is afraid of no one, but— well, now, 
you know that's his way of acting." 

"Acting? Are we on the stage that he should act?" 

"The wliole world is a stage and we are but actors on it." 

"0 well, I know, but— was he telling the truth about that 
herring?" 

They walked along the gravelpath and turned into one of 
those winding soft paths covered with cones and needles from 
the fir-trees. 

"0, Frank was blustering as usual, just to have something 
to say. Let us dismiss him from our minds and think of our- 
selves, — see, here is a neat little seat. Sit down, please." 

"I should be on my way home. Father sent me to Mr. 
Bryan's on a business errand, and I had better — " 

"But you can give me a wee bit of a half hour, can't you, 
Mae ?" 

"All right, a wee bit of a half hour, what ever that may 
be. I'll do that much." 

"Do you know, Mae, in two weeks we vrill have our vaca- 
tion and I'll have to go home." 

"Are you not glad?" 

"In a way, yes, but — " 

Neither spoke. Xight had come and where they sat it was 

67 



ALMA MATEE 

very dark. There was a new moon, but as the little silvery sic- 
kle living in the sky it lacked the power to penetrate through 
the dense foliage of the pine-trees. A mere gleam of silvery 
light crept through to the place where they sat and occasionally 
liglued up ]\tae's beautiful face. They gave no heed to that, 
for Ihcy sat lost in thought. They realized they would have to 
part for months, and a strange feeling possessed them that 
neither could have explained. They were aware of a blissful 
attachment, one for another, but could not find words to ex- 
press their feelings. At last ]\[ae spoke in a soft, low and 
sweet tone: 

"When is commencement day. Roy?" 
•'On the twenty-fourth; today is the tenth." 
"'And when do you leave ?" 

"Same day, — we all leave in the afternoon of commence- 
ment day, except those boys who will spend vacation here." 
"Would you care to remain here?" 
"Yes, Mae — if — I knew how to arrange it." 

"Be sensible. Hoy, don't get that idea in your head. You 
go liome to your mother. Won't she be waiting for you?" 

"Yes, she will be expecting me." 

"Well then, you go home. You are coming back, are you 
not ?" 

"Surely." 

"Think for a moment — what are three months?" 

"x\ long time, Mae,— not to see — " 

"Don't say it I" She bent over and laid her soft fingers on 
his month, saying: "ril write you nice letters; how is that, 
Roy ?" 

68 



AL:\rA MATEPt 

"0, will 3^ou ? I've been wanting to ask you, but somehow — 
I — I — was afraid you would say 'No'." 

"You foolish boy; it will be a pleasure to write to you." 

"Mae, real pleasure?" 

"Yes, pleasure from my heart." 

"Good, then I shall be satisfied." 

^lae rose from her seat and confronted Roy. He was still 
sitting- with his head in his hands. She looked down upon him 
and, for the first time, touched his darkbrown hair that she ad- 
mired so much — just barely touched it with her soft baud, say- 
ing: 

"Come, Eoy, get up. I am going home now. It is too late 
for you to accompany me, so let's walk on to the college to- 
gether, then I shall continue on my way." 

"iSTo, please allow me to see you home." 

"Xow be sensible. Do as I say, won't you, please ?" 

"AH right." 

They left the park in silence and ten minutes' walk brought 
them to the college entrance. 

"Good-bye, Eoy. Good night. I hope to see you once more 
before you leave." 

"I shall try to find the time to say good-bye to vou and 
your father. Good night, Mae." 

Quickly Mae skipped through the darkness, not once glanc- 
ing back to the place wliere Eoy stood looking after her until 
he could see her no longer. At liome, in her own little room, 
she sat in her rockingchair at the open window for a long while, 
listening to the highpitched song of the frogs in the meadow, 
with occasional throatv tones of the bullfrog- intermingling. 
The moon hung low over the cherry-orchard while her soft light 
crept sparingly through the tall poplars encircling tlie farm- 

69 



ALMA MATER 

house. The meadow to the east lay dreamy and confused, in a 
fantastic, whiteish fog. The night was silent but for the call 
of the whippoorwill for his mate. 

Then, suddenly, Mae heard in the distance the light rum- 
bling of a buggy. Presently two husky farmhands, driving a 
snowwhite horse and singing as they drove, passed the house. 
Mae knew who they were and loved to hear them sing, but she 
was able to catch the one stanza only : 

The moon is waning steadily — 

thou, my flow'r in blue! 

Thru clouds she shineth silvery. — 

Eoses in the vale. 

Maiden fair and hale — 

Forget me not! 
Though these words came from sturdy farmlads, Mae in- 
terpreted them as coming from Roy, of whom she was thinking. 
She was not conscious, however, of the import of her thoughts, 
but of one thin^ she was certain and she did not hesitate to ac- 
knowledge it, she knew she liked Roy better, far better than 
the farmer boys who had Just sung the ditty. 

And Roy ? It is useless to try to describe his feelings. He 
gave vent to them by reading the following poem over and over 
until at last it was his own. As he fell asleep he murmured : 

let me dream of you tonight 

Till slumbers chain has bound me. 

Let all the pelf of day depart 

And bring the gnomes of night around me. 

They'll tie me down in Morpheus' arms 
And off I am on dreamland's highway, 
Beyond the earth and her crude art 
And all the care and frolic by-play. 

70 



ALMA MATER 

Then, Sable Goddess, cover me 

With furs so soft and wings of tremor. 

Ablaze with myriads of stars 

In silence deep, night's mystic tenor. 

So let me dream of you tonight 

While I am bound by chains of slumber, 

Until the sun will loosen them 

With rays of lidit and without number. 




■Jl 




CHAPTEK V. 

T may be difficult for the student of today to compre- 
hend the daily trend of life at old Elmhurst College, 
without the social element and the opportunities of 
sport entering as actual factors in the mental and 
physical development of a student-body. Social ac- 
tivities were discouraged, in order to avoid a possible disturbance 
of college routine, and the boys were thus thrown upon their 
own resources for diversion. 

In those days the Y. M. C. A. was not in existence, and 
there were no societies or clubs to provide the college youth 
with the necessary social environment. Athletics were unknown 
as an essential factor in the development of a student, who at 
least should possess a healthy body in order to foster a healthy 
soul. There were no base-ball teams, no brassbands, no glee- 
clubs and no tennis or basketball. In fact, whatever was sorely 
lacking in this direction then may be in excess today. 

Be that as it may; let no one think that studentlife in those 
pioneer days was void of these essentials entirely. For when- 
ever many young men live together and depend on their own 
resources they will find means and ways to apply safety valves 
for excess energy. 

On special "free days" a base-ball game Avas quickly ar- 
ranged, and a game with unskilled players on both sides af- 
forded more fun and recreation than one arranged with an 
outside rival, thoiigh next day fingers were unfit to wield the 
pen. 



ALMA MATEE 

One small orgaui/atiun is worthy of mention here. It was a 
double-quartet composed of the best singers of old Ehuhurst. 
The leader was one of the students, Clarence A. White, who is 
today a distinguished musician and composer, and is an organ- 
ist in one of Chicago's foremost churches. The little band of 
singers, including the writer, who is proud to remember that he 
was one of them, arranged many a concert, independently, and 
gained great favor with the college and with the villagers who 
flocked to these concerts in great numbers. It may not be amiss 
to recall a few incidents in connection with this double-quartet. 

The leader — the num who wielded the baton — even as a 
young man was an ingenious and inventive musician, but very 
eccentric. He planned to serenade some of the villagers on New 
Year's night, and a march, imitating a brass band, was re- 
hearsed with ardor; but when the evening came there lay eight 
to ten inches of snow on the ground, and the mercury stood at 
20 below zero. Despite the weather conditions, the singers, with 
the Inspector's permission, started out. Walking was difficult, 
to say nothing of wanting to keep step. Upon reaching the 
road, the leader gave the command to halt, then said: "When 
I say 'forward march', then we'll start down the road, singing 
as we go. I shall try it out." 

The attempt was a sad failure, yet the leader did not give 
up. He tried again and again, but the boys could not march, 
see the leader's baton and sing at the same time, — besides hav- 
ing their breath freeze to icicles on their nose. All this in- 
furiated him to such an extent that he called a halt once more 
and addressed the willing band of singers in the following man- 
ner : 

"I do not understand why you will not sing as I want 
you to, wdien you have done this before. I'll give you one more 
chance, — if we fail again, then — you may go — home and I am 



ALMA MATER 

no longer your leader, for you won't be worthy of a leader. 
Now, please take heed: one, — two — one, two — sing!" 

"Routch, routch, rappelde routch, — vidi, vidi, vidi, vuni, 
bum — " 

"Halt—! Can't you hear? Halt!" 

Just then the excitement and confusion reached its height. 
The leader used a cane that evening instead of the delicate bat- 
on. Simultaneously with the halt he brought it down with 
great force on his "Regensburger," the partition, breaking the 
cane to splinters. At the same time he cried out: "I might as 
well try to lead a band of Fiji Islanders. You are enough to 
make a saint sweat in a temperature of 30 below zero. I have 
finished." 

He walked home in disgust, so did the singers. In the 
morning, however, he regretted his rashness, forgave the sing- 
ers and remainejd their leader until he left college the follow- 
ing year. 

On an other occasion he planned a surprise for the Presi- 
dent General of the Evangelical Church, the Rev. Adolph Balt- 
zer of St. Charles, Mo., who visited the college. C. A, White 
had appointed a committee of two to invite the president to 
lend his presence at a meeting to be held in the largest recita- 
tion room. The invitation was accepted, and a number of Ger- 
man folksongs were rendered. As the double quartet sang the 
words of Goethe's Mignon ; "Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitron- 
en bluehn ?" — this being the last number on the program — the 
tears came to the gentleman's eyes. Then he made a neat little 
speech, saying that he felt very grateful to the singers and their 
able leader, especially for the privilege of hearing that song 
from "Mignon." "For", said he, "it is long since I heard it. It 
moved my heart like magic and instantly transported me back 
to the days in Berlin and Halle, where I was a student with 

74 



ALMA MATEK 

Bismark and other men now highly honored and recognized in 
the world of letters, science, art and politics. In a word, your 
rendition of that beautiful song has made me homesick for my 
Alma Mater. I would, therefore, plead with you to love your 
school as you would your own mother. We have placed it here 
for you, and I hope that the day may come when you also will 
get homesick for your Alma Mater. When the semester is ab- 
solved you Avill go home to your mother. You think of it every 
day, perhaps dream of it at night, because you love your mother 
so much. May a similar love and passion fill your hearts for 
this school, your college — your Alma Mater ! I thank you." 

There is still another incident that to overlook would be a 
sign of ingratitude toward two persons. The one is the dear 
Inspector of those days, Rev. Philip F. Meusch, and the other 
is the leader of the double quartet, C. A. White. Though the 
Inspector left this world forty-one years ago and Mr. C. A. 
White is still active in the world of music, should we not honor 
those who deserve it ? We honor the dead that in life accom- 
plished great and good things for mankind in general or in par- 
ticular, as is the case with the highly esteemed Inspector. It 
is an easy matter, but often not a fair one to bedeck the caskets 
of some with choice flowers — when it is too late. I^et us strew 
flowers and present bouquets to those still with us who richly 
deserve them through untiring faithfulness in their respective 
field of labor. 

The Inspector's fortieth birthday was the cause for a gen- 
eral celebration. On that day schoolwork, lectures and lessons 
were abandoned and a generally free and happy day was en- 
joyed by all. A special dinner was served, and it was a rare 
treat to sit down to roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green peas 
and such relishes as olives and celery, with coffee and cake as 
the last course. The Inspector and his family sat at the same 

75 - 



ALMA MATEK 

table with the students, but the surprise of the day was a spe- 
cial song written and set to music for the occasion by C. A. 
White, and brilliantly rendered by the famous quartet. 

During the last course C. A. White rose from his seat, 
rJightly tapped his metal music stand with his baton and 
begged for silence. But he had to rap a second time before he 
gained the attention of the feasting audience. When at last 
silence prevailed he spoke as follows : 

"I bog pardon for interrupting you in your endeavor to do 
justice to the good things before you, but the Teutonic ]\Iale 
(^)uartet lias a musical treat in store, which I beg to be allowed 
to oiler. 1 know I am voicing the sentiments of the entire 
studentbody v.'hen 1 congratulate our esteemed Inspector on his 
fortieth bii-thday, wliicli we are priviledged to celebrate in this 
home-like fashion. '\\'e wish him many returns of the day, and 
})ledge ourselves to honor and to obey our superior as it behooves 
young men of our standing. However, to show the special esteem 
in which the man at the helm of this institution of learning is 
held I have, in accord with my faithful singers of the Teutonic 
Male Quartet, arranged a festal hymn. May the rendition of 
it be accepted as our personal forni of gratitude to the Inspec- 
tor of Elmhurst College. May he live long and prosper under 
the guidance of the Almighty." 

Xo sooner had he spoken the last word than a rap brought 
the singers to their feet, and they sang as only joliy students 
can sing. The singing was not only a surprise, but a real musi- 
cal treat and an honor to the composer and conductor. The 
Inspector was moved as never before, no endeavor on the part 
of the students to honor him thereafter could move him in 
the same way. He found it dilhcult to express even one word 
of thanks, for his heart was in his throat Avhile he spoke. Ah, 
yes! It is real joy to honor him to whom honor is duo. — 

76 



ALMA MATEK 

On arrival at Elmhurst the student was almost forced to 
meet two men at the little frame statiou, around which grass 
and weeds grew ad libitum. The one was "Dick" and the other 
was "Abraham." The men were known by their given names 
only. "Dick" was an Irishman and was proud of it. He was the 
station-man, the handyman. How he would scold and swear 
when those first days in September brought all the boys back to 
college. He rolled a cud of tobacco from one side of his mouth 
to the other in excitement and anger because more work than 
usual was demanded of him. In order to renew his physical 
strength, he crossed the street more than once during the day 
to tip a "pony", for he was fond of whisky and tobacco, and 
when under the influence of it was dangerous, but wlien sober 
he was a good old scout and enjoyed a chat with the "Dutch 
students", as he preferred to call them. Despite such an en- 
dearing title, Dick was favored by Frank Tzarbell, Johnny 
Bretz and Roy Keller with occasional visits in order to ]ius> 
away some long and cold Sunday afternoon. Dick was pleased 
to have the boys, who gathered around the kitchen stove behind 
which Dick sat. Near him was the big coal box in which he 
deposited the juicy fruits of the cud. He chewed incessantly. 

Dick would relate, in Irish brogue, stories of his own peo- 
ple, which he enjoyed as well as the boys. One Sunday, after a 
good dinner and a pleasant nap, the boys assembled in the 
kitchen. Mrs. Burke was in a bad humor that day because Dick 
was too lazy to bring in the coal from the shed. The boys, over- 
hearing the hot shots she fired at Dick on that account, took 
pity on Mrs. Burke and volunteered to bring in the coal. 

"Xo, ye'll do nothing of the sort. I'll not have it. Me old 
lazy mon shall do it." 

"See here, Mrs. Burke, let the boys alone and I'll tell ye 
a story that will brighten yur spirits, old lady." 

n 



ALMA MATER 

After the coal was in the box Dick began. 

"Now fur the story. Mrs. Burke, ye're takin all the pen- 
nies and dimes and quarters ye kin lay hold on to the Priest. 
Let me tell ye what becomes of thim. This is a good one, boys, 
I hurd it meself when I waz a youngster in Jersey, indade, I 
did. I wuz at church in the mornin, and after the Priest had 
said soniethin nice concernin the old mither-church he told the 
people he had a personal raissage fur thim. Said he: 'People, 
Tve been yur Priest goin on to twinty years and now the Bishop 
has given me a vacation for three months. I shall be goin to 
p]urope. Of course, I'll see tlie Holy Father in Rome and will 
bring liome a blissin from him for all of ye. I want to say 
good-bye to ye all.' 

"Afterwards I stood outside the church and observed the 
})e()i)le as they conversed With one another about the Priest 
goin to Eurojie. Near me stood two wimmin and the one said 
to the other : 'Begorra, and I wonder phwat's a takin of him to 
Europe.' 

"And don't ye know phwat's a takin liim to Europe?" 

"Indade, I don't." 

"Thin I'll tell ye, ]\rrs. Fitzpatric, yur tin cints and my tin 
cints, that's phwat's takin' him to Europe." 

They all laughed heartily, with the exception of Mrs. 
Burke, who became angry. Her spirits were brightened, but 
not in the way Dick had hoped, for nov/ she sailed in and ac- 
cused him of taking more dimes to Clirist Bliewernicht and 
John Most than she ever dared take to the Priest. 

"Ah, now, old woman, let me tell ye anither story, — the 
one about Tommy Joyce and Fritz Kugler. — and I'm shur ye 
will lose ynr timper and be a laughin wi'us. Tommy Joyce and 
Fritz Kngler were sittin at the table and both wanted the 
wliole of the fine smellin country sissage. They Amz quarallin 

78 



ALMA MATER 

about it when the Landlady said to thim; 'Here now, nothiu like 
that. I'll decide this qnistion. Each wun of ye take wun ind 
of the sissage in the mouth, and when I say — riddy — thin the 
wun of ye thot kapes the sissage between the teeth while he ses 
he's riddy, will git the whole of it. Air ye willin ? They said 
they wuz. Good, says she — riddy? Fritz opened his mouth 
wide and said 'Yaw'! But Tommy said 'Yis' and held on to 
the prize." 

That suited Mrs. Burke who said: 'Tndade, that sounds 
though ye's made it up for the sake of pridin yurself and hum- 
iliatin old Abrahim of the college," 

'"Niver mind, Mrs. Burke, Abraham is all right. Tzarbell, 
anything new up at the college? Phwhat happened to Abra- 
him's wagon the ither night? Any truth in the story I hurd?" 

"Surely, all truth, if you heard the story correctly." 

"Well, phwhat was it?" 

"Simply this: We boys wanted to play a trick on him, so 
one night we went to the barn after Abraham had retired, pulled 
the big farm wagon into the open, took the whole thing apart 
raid dragged the parts, piecemeal, on to the roof of the barn. 
There we had an awful job putting it together again, but, after 
several hours hard work, we were proud to see the wagon on 
top of the barn, with tongue pointing heavenward." 

"Yis, and phwhat did Abrahim think of it? Did he think 
the wagin flew up on the barn ?" 

"I don't know, he didn't commit himself. All I know is 
that we were ordered by the Inspector to take the wagon down 
in the same manner in which we had put it up, and we had to 
work in broad daylight with all the students Jeering at us. 
That was our punishment." 

"And Abrahim had the laugh on ye boys. Ha, ha, ha! 

79 



ALlIA MATEE 

Boys, old x\brahini niver wuz a grandfather, not even a fatlier, 
but he's foxy." 

"There he goes now,'" said Eoy. "Come, let's go, when 
Abraham walks so fast we know its about suppertime." 

The boys said good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Burke, hurried 
out on the street and caught up with Abraham. Koy wanted 
to know whether he was in town visiting Lizzy Moeller? Sun- 
days was his visiting day. 

"Xo, no; I don't go to see her any more. She is too fine 
and polished for me. She is always thinking of Mr. John Peace- 
maker now, and doesn't care for me any more." 

"By the way, Abraham, may we call on you tonight? You 
kiiow, I have never been to see you." 

"You, Eoy Keller, Tzarbell and Johnny Bretz are just t'lo 
boys I would Ije glad to have. Sometimes you are bad boys, bui 
I like you just the same. Will you come?" 

"With pleasure, we'll be there without fail. May we 
smoke ?" 

"Xow, Tzarbell, you know the rule, let's not talk about it. 
I'll expect you at eight o'clock." 

The boys could not understand why Abraluim was so 
friendly toward them, for until now be seemed to dislike tbem. 
When it struck eight they were knocking at Al)raham's do(ir. 

Abraluim ojx'ned the door and welcomed them with a 
friendly smile. They were surprised at what they saw, for they 
had expected to find a dis-arranged, untidy and unclean room, 
because Aljraham had never appeared really neat and clean ex- 
cept on Sunday. The odor of tlie stable hung around him some- 
wliat after llie fashion of the perfume al)out which Thonuis 
Moore writes: 

You may break, you may ruin the vase, if you will, 
But the scent of the roses will hang round ii ^till. 

80 



ALMA MATEK 

Abraham was a good old scout, though a baclielor, and 
while at work was not at all presentable. This evening, how- 
ever, he remained in his Sunday-clothes in honor of the boys, 
and because he was proud of his outfit. He boasted of the 
price he had paid for it, on Kinzie Street, in Chicago. The 
table was decorated with cherry and appleblossons in an im- 
mense yellow vase. On the window sill stood another vase con- 
taining a big bunch of lilacs, but all the flowers were artificial. 
The boys seated themselves, — Koy on Abraham's bed, which 
was covered with a spread in which all colors of the rainbow 
were mingled. This was the gift of a certain old maid in the 
village and he treasured it very highly. Brctz sat near the 
window on a big lumbering trunk which contained, besides 
Abraham's belongings, old-fashioned photograph and autograph 
albums. It was diflicult to say which he treasured the most, 
the pictures or the autographs. He possessed photographs of 
every professor and student who had been connected with the 
college from the beginning. He considered himself very fort- 
unate in having the photagraphs of a number of women that 
had served or still were serving as maids. There were Mary, 
Sophie, Hannah, Elisabeth and others — he knew the life-his- 
tory of each one. He coveted, with eagerness, the autograph 
of every one that ventured into his unique den, and was highly 
insulted when his request was not granted. This was one of 
his bachelor peculiarities. 

Frank Tzarbell occupied the only rocking-chair in the 
room, while Abraham was satisfied with the shoe-blacking box 
which he drew from under the bed. After Abraham had ex- 
pressed his joy at their coming he requested Bretz to allow him 
to open his trunk. As he stooped down he grabbed his wig — 
for he was a true baldhead — to assure himself that the artifi- 
cial hair-dress Avould not fall into the trunk. Just as the boys 

81 



ALMA MATER 

expected, he brought forth the photograph album and they 
were obliged to look over all the pictures and listen to the his- 
tory of each individual. He lingered a while over one of the 
pictures, and then remarked: 

"Here is a boy that was one of the first to matriculate ai 
Elmhurst. He was a fine looking fellow, a dandy, as you can 
see at a glance, and a good musician. When he played the or- 
gan on Sundays, or rendered violin solos at a concert, he was 
much admired by the girls. He came from St. Louis and was 
poor, but it was his passion to appear here like a city swell and 
to "spin" on the boardwalks after the fashion of a dandy. In 
order to "spin", however, — as he called his promenading — he bor- 
rowed a hat from one, fine shoes with heavy silver buckles from 
another, a long coat and a pair of gray tight-fitting trousers 
from still another, and so on until he considered his outfit just 
as it should be. Then he went visiting — on the sly — of course, 
parading in other people's clothes. He courted Ida Remark, 
but — she gave him the grand bounce, and do you know that 
hurt him and vexed him so he married another girl when he 
left Elmhurst. He was no other than Henry Luscher, — you 
all have heard of him. Poor fellow, he had one big fault, — he 
loved a certain beverage better than his wife or the children 
of his school, and that caused his downfall. But he was a fine 
fellow." 

When all the photographs had passed in review Abraham 
asked the boys for theirs. Tzarbell had his in readiness, in an- 
ticipation of the request, and Roy gave his promise to comply 
later, while Bretz ejaculated: 

"X'c^nslamity, durhamity, Abraham, I am ashamed to give 
you mine." 

"Why? I want it. You are one of the finest fellows at 
Elmhurst today." 

83 



ALMA MATEK 

"Do you think so? T am sure that's nice of you. All right, 
you shall have the picture." 

Abraham then requested the boys to put their "John Han- 
cock'' in his autograph album. That caused a commotion, for 
they had no idea what to write. Abraham demanded a little 
verse, or original line, something besides the name. Bretz made 
a mad rush for the door. His passion was tobacco, not the art 
of Avriting, much less writing a line in that ominous book, but 
Tzarbell caught his arm in time and said: 

"Xo, you won't ! You stay here and write !" 
"Lemme go. Tzar, — why, man, I'd rather drink a cup of 
nicotine like — like — Socrates, conslamity, than write in that 
book, for, who knows, Abraham may live as long as Abraham of 
the Bible, aud then my children's children will visit this place — 
of all places — and read my name in that autocratic, beg pardon, 
autograph book, under a line of poetry such as I happened to 
read in the Farmer's Journel. The jingle sounded something 
like this: 

Abe and Ann went down the lane 
To feed the pigs with clabber;- — ■ 
Ann, said Abe, I'll be your swain — 
But don't you ever blabber! 
"You write that, Abraham will not care; will you, Abra- 
ham ?" 

"Why no, that's fine! I want each of you to write some- 
thing like this, look! He put his finger on a page where one, 
Carl Oberlaender, had subscribed his name, above which ap- 
peared in a flashy scrawl, — 

Days may come, and days may go — 
Starry night and moon so bright; 
Not a storm, or wind to blow, — 
May such be your life's delight. 

83 



ALMA MATER 

"See, that's worth while, I believe Carl told me this was 
one of Longfellows exquisite hits of verse, or was it our own 
Mr. Thomas Bryan — you know the man that owns the Park — 
that wrote these lines ! Anyway, its beautiful, isn't it ? I seem 
to hear the spirits of night Just like — last night. Wasn't that 
a fine night? Tonight the moon is behind the clouds, and there 
may be a storm brewing, but oh, — that 'starry night' — how 
wonderful, wonderful." 

This speech of praise even appeased the spirit of Johnny 
Bretz, who penned his lines of Ann and Abe, then gave vent to 
his feelings: 

"There nov/, I've done it, conslamity, durhamity. Now 
let me stuff my Powhatan." 

Amid hearty laughter Eoy and Tzarbell each wrote a 
fitting verse in the book to the satisfaction of Abraham, who 
again hid his treasure in the sacred trunk. The pipes were 
lighted and peace once more reigned in the cabin. After this 
Abraham treated the boys to some cake he had hurriedly se- 
cured from the liousekeeper. A bottle of raspberry juice was 
opened and the contents mixed with water and sugar. When 
Abraham poured the sv/eet mixture into Eoy's glass he re- 
marked: "Roy, some day you will be a preacher and marry, 
then your wife will wait on you better than I." 

"Look here, Abraham," said Tzarbell, "how do you knov.' 
that Roy will ever have a wife?" 

"Ah, I know he will." 

"No you don't, for Roy told me he would remain a bache- 
lor, like you," said Bretz. 

"Not Roy, he is in love now. Maybe you think, boys, I 
don't know, — good luck to you, Roy!" 

"Listen, Abraham, Roy is not in love. We all knoAv he 

84 



ALMA MATER 

likes Mae Brenner, but that is not here nor there. The fact is 
there is no such thing as being in love.'' 

''Hold on there, Tzarbell, yes there is. Do you know what 
happened to Henry Olaff?" 

"No, Bretz, tell us what happened." 

"It occured a few years ago. Perhaps that Olalf was from 
Iowa— Council Bluffs — accounts for his folly, but to make a 
long story short, he was enamored with Professor Goldway's 
housemaid and met her secretly at night. One night he ar- 
ranged to met her behind the wash house, but, of course, was 
spied on by Miss Nett. Suddenly the Inspector appeared on 
the scene, and called: "Is that you, Olaff ?" 

"Yes sir!" he answered boldly. 

"Come to my room, I wish to speak to you." 

"There Olaff' made a scene. Pie told some of the boys 
about it, and I have the story from them. The Inspector in- 
formed him that if he did not cease his clandestine meetings 
with the girl, he would be expelled. Olaff frankly told the In- 
spector that he would do nothing of the sort, for he loved the 
girl. He was promptly "shipped" (that was the word the boys 
used for being expelled), but, later on, married the girl. Tell 
me, was he in love or not? Conslamity, durhamity." 

While listening to this story, Roy's heart beat faster, but 
he had no time for reflections, as they all rose to leave. Abra- 
ham, however, had something on his mind, and spoke as fol- 
lows : 

"What Bretz just told is true. I knew all about it at 
the time, and was much troubled because of a conversation be- 
tween the Inspector and Professor Goldway which I over- 
heard one morning as I drove them to the station where they 
boarded a train for Chicago. It was then that I heard the 
professor say: 

85 



ALMA MATER 

"That incident with Olaff is phenomenal, or a phenomenon, 
or at least a word sounding much like that. Since that time I 
have wanted to know what he meant. Can you tell me, did he 
mean Olaff was crazy or what?" 

"Phenomenon? You want to know what that word means?" 
asked Tzarbell. 

"Yes, the professor said it so often. I once heard him 
use it in a sermon, and I thought then that he was using bad 
language, but when he made use of it in connection with Olaff's 
love affair I became frightened." 

"Good, I'll tell you what it means. Here is an illustra- 
tion : when your old black cow eats grass in the meadow, that's 
no phenomenon; when a thistle grows and blooms in your gar- 
den, that's no phenomenon; when a bluebird in your garden 
calls his mate early in the morning, that's no phenomenon; but 
when the black cow sits on the blooming thistle, eats grass and 
sings like a bluebird, — that's a phenomenon." 

The laugh was on Abraham, and the boys hurriedly left 
the bachelor's abode, calling "Good-bye, good-bye Abraham!" 

On their way to the dormitory they had to pass the music 
room, whence strange sounds issued. There was a boy at college 
from old Kentucky who loved to play the banjo and sing old 
negro melodies. Roy, who had often listened to him, stopped 
the boys, saying: 

''Listen a minute. Do you hoar that? I have never heard 
that before, listen !" 

The young musician sang softly for fear some one might 
hear the words, but he liked the music, for tliere was a peculiar 
swinsr to it: 



8r, 



ALMA MATER 

Walk in, walk in, walk in I say — 

Walk in the parlor and lieah de banjo play, 

Heah de banjo play, heah de banjo pla}^, — 

An watch de ole nigger how he plunks on the string. 

God made Satan and Satan made sin, * , 

God made a hole and put Satan in — 
Satan got mad an swor he wouldn't stay, — 
Walk in, walk in, walk in I say. 

They all laughed, and hurried to their rooms. By this 
time Eoy had forgotten what happened to Olaff. — 

The fact cannot be stated too emphatically that the days 
of old Elmhurst differed in every respect from those to-day. 
The social relations existing between professor and student had 
a refining eft'ect upon the student and acted as a stimulant in 
the monotony of daily routine. There was one professor who 
lacked the precious gift of imparting knowledge to the eager 
student, but possessed the happy faculty of making students 
feel at home in his family circle. As the school-term was near- 
ing its close, there being only two days before commencement, 
the professor, whose name was von Luther, invited a number of 
boys to an evening affair. Among the invited guests were 
Eoy Keller and Frank Tzarbell. 

It was at this time that Eoy and Tzarbell were preparing 
for final examinations. They had finished Cornelius Nepos and 
were reading Titus Livius, but with another professor who 
was not as socially inclined as Professor von Luther. They had 
just been reading the history of the second Punic War, and 
rejoiced at every victory that Hannibal won, hoping he would 
enter Eome as victor. 

Those were glorious days, and Eoy and Tzarbell had reason 
never to forget them, for it was at that period that both for 

87 



ALMA MATER 

the first time in their lives experienced the effects of imbibing 
too much wine. In plain English, they became tipsy. 

Tzarbell conld not say definitely even in later years who 
was his first love — whether it was that beautiful pale-faced 
Pauline Schenk, whom no one seemed to notice but he; or 
whether it was Mamie Spiller, whom he often saw in her father's 
drugstore, and for whose sake Frank desired to study pharmacy ; 
or whether it was Margret Uphoff, who would laughingly run 
from him and dare him to catch her, and when he would suc- 
ceed in doing so would reward his efi'orts with a sweet kiss? 
He was not able to state when or where for the first time that 
flame which we call love began to burn in his heart, but he 
knew positively when and where he became intoxicated the first 
time, and never did forget. 

The days preceding the anticipated social function at Pro- 
fessor von Luther's were exciting ones for the boys. In their 
little room and on their walks they spoke about the coming 
event, and their curiosity was aroused when they heard that 
Professor von Luther had invited outsiders — people not con- 
nected with the college. Roy was hoping that Mae Brenner 
and her father would be there. The question of dress was 
a momentous matter, as neither had fine clothes, but wished to 
appear in good style. Still another matter was under considera- 
tion, and that was the professor's table, as they took it for 
granted that an excellent luncheon would be served. 

'J'he professor lived in the village on the other side of the 
railroad, and the boys thought the distance greater than ever 
that evening. When they arrived both were disappointed, for 
Frank Tzarbell had hoped to meet a famous Chicago musician, 
and Roy had secretly wished for Mae Brenner, but neither 
were there. Wine was served at dinner, and as the boys had 
never tasted any before they decided not to indulge. But the pro- 

88 



ALMA MATEK 

fessor urged them to empty their glasses, and they complied. 
After a while ]\Irs. von Lnther refilled the glasses — Roy and 
Frank exchanged glances — laughed and drank heartily. They 
had no idea what they were doing, nor were they able to fore- 
see the consequences. As time passed the wine got in its work, 
and a strange feeling of hilarity took possession of them. The 
hour for departure had arrived, as they were supposed to be in 
at 10:00 p. m., and Eoy and Tzarbell left the professor's hos- 
pitable home with locked arms to maintain their balance. Tzar- 
boll found his tongue saying: "I shall take you to college safely, 
rely on that," and Eoy had enough wit left to answer: "Xo, I 
shall take you to the college. You only got ahead of me in 
saying it." 

The boys staggered through the streets, which appeared so 
deserted; they were tempted to believe that condition had ex- 
isted since the beginning of time. Several times they tried to 
sing, but the result was a dismal failure. They reached the 
railroad just as the fast night train raced through the village. 

"Gee whiz", said Tzarbell, "I have never known that train 
to fly before. Did you notice it ? One swish, like a firebug, and 
it was out of sight. I scarcely heard it. What was the matter 
with that train anyway, Roy?" 

''Seems to me it wasn't on wheels — " 

"Was it, was it — really flying?" 
- "Dunno — seems — so." 

"Say, Roy, are we going to college?" 

"Did I not tell you — / would take you to your room?" 

"Yes, but we live together don't we?" 

"That's so, — well — I'll take you first — then — you take — " 

"Ro\', see that light over there ? Is that another train com- 
ing?" 

"Maybe it's the — moon." 

89 



ALMA MATER 

"No I think it's Venus, looks so charming and — mislead- 
ing." 

"Aha, I've got it, It's — will o' the wisp!" 

"You mean — Jack o' lantern !" 

"No I do not, I mean — say, where are we now? Is this a 
house ?" 

B}^ this time they had reached the large flight of stone 
steps leading up to the main building of the college. 

"Ro_v, this is indeed a house. Don't worry about the stone 
steps, I shall not desert you." Yet while Frank uttered these 
brave words he swayed from right to left holding tight to 
Roy's arm. They started up together, but the next moment 
were crawling up on hands and feet. Halfway up Tzarbell 
felt the necessity of reassuring Roy saying: "Don't worry, I 
shall not desert you." Upon reaching the top Frank started 
down again in the same manner as he had gone up. After 
all, Roy saw that much, and he ejaculated, saying: 

"What are you up to now? Where are you going?" 

"Down, — back — we forgot to bring Bretz and — Dormann 
— and — the rest. Don't you understand, I must not desert any- 
one." 

"That's so, wait — I'm coming down too." 

Roy began to crawl down, but suddenly lost his hold and 
rolled down from step to step, rolling easily like a bundled up 
hickory log, without sound or clatter. Tzarbell was on his knees 
when Roy came rolling to his feet. Roy raised himself, and 
they looked at each other like two big overgrown babies ; then at 
length Roy asked: 

"Now where are we? My but it's dark. Longhead would 
call this Hades." 

"No this is Elysium — " 

90 



ALMA MATER 

'^Sinoe when do mortals role down steps into those fields of 
enchantment? I am positive Longhead would call this Hades." 

''But I tell you it's Elysium. Can't you see that mystic 
light up yonder, — that is not a moon, nor Venus, nor a fast 
train — that's the celestial lamp of those elysiac fields to which 
the spirits of Socrates and Plato and Cicero took flight, — ah — 
Roy, let us remain here — " 

"No, come up here!" 

The boys stared up to where the voice seemed to have come 
from, and faintly observed the unsteadiness of a lamp in some- 
one's hand. The voice seemed familiar to them. They realized 
that it had nothing in common with the inhabitants of the in- 
ferno. Again it sounded through the night. 

'T say, Roy Keller and Frank Tzarbell, come up here. I 
know who you are." 

It was the Inspector. This stern revelation sobered them 
to such an extent that they took hold of each other, and, rais- 
ing themselves with difficutly, started up the steps arm in arm 
like two innnocent sea voyagers. The Inspector smiled, which 
of course the boys did not see. Then he spoke. 

"Is this the condition in which you present yourselves?" 

"Dear Inspector, the fact is — we are here, are we not?" said 
Tzarbell. 

"Yei, you are here, but in what state!" 

"I think we came out of the fray without the loss of a 
limb. We are all here, are we not?" 

"0, you are incorrigible! What shall I do with you?" 

"Help us to bed. We are all right, dear Inspector." 

And he marched them upstairs to bed. Nothing more was 
said. The next day Roy and Tzarbell were called to the In- 
spector's office. They trembled with fear, but the Inspector 
spoke kindly to them saying: "I am very sorry this has hap- 

91 



ALMA MATER 

pened. I have spoken with Professor von Luther, and it will 
be all right. But let it never occur again, for it was a very 
disgraceful conduct. Let this be a lesson for both of you. 
Never disgrace yourselves again; will you promise?" 

"We promise, for we feel very unhappy over the affair." 

"Good, you may go." 

To say that the boys were glad to get off so easily is put- 
ting it mildly, yet tliey understood. The only redeeming feature 
with the Inspector was the fact that they had gotten into trouble 
innocently, rather than deliberately. For many years the boys 
maintained silence on the subject, as they were ashamed of the 
incident. 

The last day before commencement had arrived. Final 
examinations were over, and a general state of restlessness pre- 
vailed among the students. All the boys in Roy's class had been 
promoted, but Roy was especially happy over his promotion, as 
his first term had been strenous, owing to the fact that he had 
been allowed to skip one. He pledged himself secretly to a 
greater and deeper love for Elmhurst, as he felt indebted to his 
Alma Mater. — 

With the noon mail he received a letter which brought 
more joy to his heart. Robert Becker was the writer. He and 
Roy had kept up a friendly correspondence since Robert had 
informed him of his intention to enter Elmhurst College in 
September. To-day he wrote the following: 

My dear Roy : — 

I know I am not wrong when I congratulate you upon your 
promotion, as I am not as yet in receipt of a word from 
you to the contrary. Accept my sincere congratulation. 

I am very anxious to see you at home soon. Since T con- 
cluded to take up my studies at Elmhurst, I have done my best 

92 



ALMA MATEE 

to equip myself to that purpose. You know, and no one else 
need know, that in past years I was negligent and indolent, but 
that is past, thank God. I have not only decided, but am fully 
determined to make good at Elmhurst if it is God's will that I 
shall. 

My mother is reconciled to my choice of vocation, and 
that means much to me. She is well; I regret not to be able 
to make such a report of myself. Since I had that severe cold 
last winter I am not as I should be. May you have a safe jour- 
ney, is the wish of your friend, 

Robert Beclrr. 

"Well, what are you reading, Roy?" 

"Say, Tzarbell, tliis is rich. You know I have been telling 
you of my friend Robert Becker. The letter is from him. He 
is a living exemplification of one showing sincerity in his de- 
termination to make good after living through years of reckless 
indolence. Do you care to read his letter?" 

Frank read it with delight, then said : "Fine, he will be a 
splendid companion to us. This comes to me like a premoni- 
tion. But do you not think the tone of his letter is a trifle sad ?" 

"Well — ^}'es: 1 understand, however, he is still aware of his 
shortcomings, and probal)ly a little ashamed. You know we 
can never overcome the sting of our follies altogether." 

"But it seems to me there is something besides that. One 
reads between the lines that he is not so sure of gaining his 
object. I lind a veiled uncertainty which one detects easier 
in a letter than in conversation. Did you know that?" 

"Xo, I've never thought of that. You may be right, but 
I hope you are wrong. I think you are wrong in this." 

\Miile they were thus conversing the senior came up to 
them, and handed Roy a telegram. Roy started, for in all his 
days he had never received such an ominous missive. His next 

93 



ALMA MATER 

thought was Eobert Becker, and he connected the telegram with 
the conversation just ended concerning Robert. While he 
opened the envelope he glanced at Tzarbell, who seemed to have 
read Roy's thoughts, for he said : "What, now, if something has 
happened to Eobert?" 

Both were wrong. The telegram read thus : 

Philadelphia, Pa., June 23, 1877. 
Roy Keller: — 

j\Ieet me in Chicago today at 2 p. m. Union Station. 

Uncle Philip. 

"Oh", said Roy, "Isn't that fine ! I must get ready at once. 
Congratulate me Frank, or rather go with me. I'll ask for per- 
mission for us both. Quick, hurry, say yes !" 

"But, Roy, your uncle wants you, not me." 

"Nonsense, he will be pleased to have you too. We'll stay 
until late to-night, and have a pleasant time with uncle Philip. 
I am oil' to secure permission." 

Roy's request having been granted, one o'clock saw the 
boys on their way to Chicago, where the generous uncle gave 
the boys a royal treat. 

In the meantime the final preparations for the annual 
commencement exercises were rapidly nearing completion. The 
so-called chapel was decorated with greens, flowers and na- 
tional colors. The "Teutonic Male Quartet" was rehearsing, as 
Mr. C. A. White was determined to win new laurels with his ex- 
cellent singers. He was disappointed when he heard that Roy 
and Tzarbell had gone to Chicago, but forgave them, saying: 
"Under the circumstances I should have gone to Chicago my- 
self." 

The newly organized orchestra, under the leadership of Mr. 
John Merkel, the instructor of nmsic, was to make its initial 
appearance this year, but was destined to be a failure. John 

94 



ALMA MATER 

Merkel was not a musician, much less an instructor. It is diffi- 
cult to say just what he was, or how he ever managed to get 
the position. Considering the times, the mistake of employing a 
man of his limited knowledge may be pardoned. But for many 
years music was given secondary consideration at Elmhurst 
to the detriment of the institution as well as the students. 
Those who recall the music rendered by that first orchestra 
no doubt wonder how it was possible for John Merkel to remain 
instructor of music so many years. 

Despite Mr. ]\Ierkel's inefficiency, commencement exercises 
were held. The chapel had been equipped with a modest pipe- 
organ, which was considered quite an acquisition, but a genuine 
organist was lacking. No one had ever known John Merkel 
to preside at the organ except as accompanist in congregational 
singing of the grand and incomparable chorals of the Evan- 
gelical Church. 

The Commencement exercises were scheduled to begin at 
two o'clock, and Eoy had ample time prior to that hour to 
take his uncle and benefactor through the institution. Visitors 
at Elmhurst College in those days were few and far between. 
Men like Roy's Uncle Philip were not only welcome, but re- 
ceived courteous attention. Elmhurst College needed friends, 
men with clear vision and big hearts and full of ambition for 
the advancement of the school. And Elmhurst needs them to- 
day more than ever ! 

Roy's uncle, though not exactly wealthy, was a practical 
business man and a staunch Christian. During his brief stay 
he suggested to the Inspector a number of improvements. Above 
all, he emphasized the necessity for a new main building, and 
spoke eloquently on the subject. Besides, he was not a man of 
words only, but gave his word to donate a handsome sum if 
the Synod would go ahead. His encouraging words and pledge 

95 



ALMA MATEE 

proved an inspiration, and early the next Spring plans matured 
for the erection of a large main building. 

Koy's uncle Philip was well pleased with his trip, generally 
speaking, but the dormitory and dining room interested him 
most. That does not mean that he overlooked anything of in- 
terest. "But," said he to Eoy as they walked through the 
dormitory, ''How do you manage to keep warm in your beds 
with the thermometer at twenty degrees below zero?" 

"0, we manage to keep our bodies warm, but our nose< 
are in danger of being frostbitten at times.'' 

"Yes, and how about your brains?" 

"That reminds me. There was a man here last winter 
from Warsaw, Illinois, who wanted to sleep in the dormitory 
with the boys, just for the fun of it he said. It was a terrifically 
cold and stormy night, and the house shook and swayed to and 
fro like a ship at sea. At midnight the man got out of bed 
and began to look for something in his valise. The boy next to 
him woke up and wanted to know what he was doing. He re- 
plied: 'Why, do you think I am going to have my brains freeze 
to a lump of ice?' Thereupon he tied a silk handkerchief 
around his head, though he was not even bald." "See, I was not 
so far olf the track, but tell me, do the boys always get to bed 
in time, or do they break the rule?" 

"Well, Uncle Philip. I'll tell you just one little story, then 
you may judge for yourself, but I was not in this. It was on 
April the first — all fools' day — and some tricksters wanted to 
fool the Inspector. After bedtime the lads sneaked out, caught 
a big tomcat, fastened one end of a strong string to his tail, 
the other end to the Insjiector's doorbell, and then started Sir 
Thomas towards the hedge on the east side, while they sat 
at the open window in the basement adjoining the hall. The 
doorbell rang and the Inspector opened the door, but found 
no one. As soon as he had returned to his study upstairs the 

96 



ALMA MATER 

boys threw stones at Thomas, who again gave the bell a ter- 
rific ring. A second time the door was opened by the Inspector, 
but on one was there. 'Humph I' said he, 'that is strange. Ah, 
I see a string!' He felt something tugging at the string, and 
walked to the hedge. 'Now I have found you, just come out 
of there!' But no one appeared. Then he pulled the string, 
and out came the howling, spitting scratching Tom. Though 
fully employed with Tom, he heard laughter emanating from 
the open window of the washroom. It was high time for the 
guilty to fly to their beds. The Inspector made the rounds 
of the bedrooms, — but everybody was sound asleep." — 

"0, you naughty boys ! I suppose, however, there was no 
harm done. There goes that cowbell again, — that's for dinner, 
is it not?" 

"Yes, we had better go, for I'll have only a slender chance 
of dinner if I am not prompt. Come, uncle, hurry!" 

After dinner Roy and his uncle sat under the big pine 
trees for a quiet smoke. As Uncle Philip knocked the ashes 
from his cigar he remarked: "I saw some boys stick bread in 
their pocket. Are they allowed to do that?" 

"No, it is againts the rule, but I suppose the faculty can- 
not enforce all the regiilations. Let me tell you what four boys 
did for a period of about four months before the Superintendent 
discovered them. Breakfast consisted of coffee, fresh biscuits 
and New Orleans molasses, while at supper coffee, bread, butter 
and hash were served as a rule; seldom anything else. Now in 
order to have both butter and molasses at each meal, the boys 
secured two molasses cans, and filled them in the morning from 
the supply for the table. In order to perform this trick there 
had to be turns about and one of the boys had to be in the 
dinning room ahead of time, which was no easy matter. The 
cans were placed on a board under the table, which was put 

97 



ALMA MATEE 

there for that purpose. At the supper table each boy helped 
himself to an extra piece of butter, which he placed in a small 
glass vase with a lid to it and hid it in his pocket. The butter 
did not melt, because the weather was cold. 

"The Superintendent observed that the boys were eating 
both butter and molasses, and came to their table in order to 
ascertain what was going on, but could find no clue. "When 
he asked them where they got the butter they said: 'That's 
butter from John Host's, and so it was. When he asked them 
where they got the syrup they grinned and pretended not to 
understand. Finally in the spring, during housecleaning, when 
the tables were turned over, the syrup cans were found, and the 
trick was laid bare. The boys were placed in the lockup, where 
they had to live on bread and water for two days." — 

"Served them right, for that was stealing, — bad boys. I 
see you are no angels here, and I admire tlie patience of 
the good Inspector." 

"Uncle Philip, it is time for us to get ready for commence- 
ment exercises, which begin promptly at two o'clock." 

This celebration was a very simple and modest affair in 
those days, yet it made a deep impression on Uncle Philip. The 
Inspector had charge of the program, which was opened with 
an organ solo- — one of the boys presiding at the organ. The 
first number was a choral sung by the entire congregation, but 
led by the students. When Uncle Philip heard that mighty 
song peal forth from the throats of those happy students his 
heart leaped for Joy and tears came to his eyes. Afterwards 
he said: "That singing was wonderful. Next year I'll be here 
again, Just to hear you boys sing. I'll be here again." But it 
was decreed otherwise. 

Scripture was read and a mighty prayer was sent up to 
the throne of God, voicing praise and thanksgiving for manifold 



ALMA MATER 

blessings and petitioning our Father in fervent supplication for 
His Spirit and the uplift and advancement of the college and 
church. Music was rendered by the previously mentioned or- 
chestra, the entire student body and the "Teutonic ]\[ale Quar- 
tet." There were also instrumental and vocal solos and duets. 
The main feature, however, was the farewell address, which as 
a rule was delivered by a member of the board of directors. 
There were no baccalaureate sermons, no diplomas were given 
and no gowns were worn. It is true that one of the students 
delievered an address, to wdiich scarcely any attention was paid, 
as it gave little evidence of erudition. 

In spite of many drawbacks, commencement day was a 
great day, and no doubt the boys appreciated its significance as 
highly as does the student of to-day. It may, therefore, not be 
amiss to refer to it here in order to draw a comparison between 
those days and the present. 

It was 4 : p. m., the trunks were packed, and most of the 
students were to leave for Chicago. Iioy's uncle had suggested 
that they leave the following day, and this suited Roy exactly. 
He rejoiced secretly, for he still had something to do. 

During connnencement exercises Roy endeavored to ascer- 
tain whether or not Mae Brenner was in the audience. The 
fact that the house was crowded made it difficult for him to 
find her, and his only chance was just before his solo. Then 
he discovered her in the center of the auditorium, seated by 
her father. Their eyes met for a moment and Mae smiled 
sweetly. Evidently she was pleased at the thought of Roy's 
singing, for he sang well. During the prelude Roy's heart 
beat fast, and he lost control of himself for the moment. Even 
when he began to sing his voice trembled, and was not clear, 
but after two or three measures he regained his composure, 
and sang the following very acceptably. 

99 



ALMA MATEK 

jSTot all were precious jewels 
Which in the glistening sand 
I found, cast there by billows 
In colors gay and bland. 

The shells were often empty, 
Bereft of costly stone, 
Then I was disappointed 
And wept, yea wept alone. 

This passion for rare jewels 
In waters deep and low, 
And in life's tossing ocean. 
Threw me in bitter woe. 

And when my ship was stranded 
On cliffs and rocks above 
I cast my anchor safely 
Into the sea of love. 

Here hope clung as my anchor 
To rocks of faith so fast, — 
And thus I found my jewel 
In love's deep sea at last. 

The song of course was new to Mae, but — oh, how happy 
was she ! Roy tried to meet her, in order to have a word or 
two with her, but could not get near her without attracting the 
attention of people. This he wished to avoid, and thus failed 
in his effort to see Mae. Presently the bell rang for supper, 
but it was a sad meal for Eoy. The dinning room was prac- 
tically empty, with only one table at which the ten that re- 
mained were seated. Roy knew that he would leave in the 
morning, and he had no appetite, no desire, no wish but one, 
and that was to see IVfae Brenner. 

100 



ALMA MATER 

Supper over, he resolved to do away witli plaiiniug, and 
act. In this moment of anxiety he cared little where Uncle 
riiilip might be. All he wanted now was to say good-bye to 
ilae Brenner, and thirty minutes later he appeared at the home 
of his sweetheart. 

At the gate he was greeted by "Marck," the faithful. The 
big Danish mastiffs name was really "Bismarck," but, for 
short, he was called "Marck" or "Bis," — it was immaterial to 
the dog. Marck new Koy well, not because of his frequent visits, 
but as a friend of Mae's, and that was sufficient. Bismarck 
stood witli his mighty head lifted high, and greeted Eoy with 
a friendly wag of the tail. Roy petted his head and walked 
to the house, with the dog at his side. 

A^'o one so far had noticed Roy's approach, and there was 
no one on the front porch, as he had hoped there would be. 
Ascending the few steps leading to the porch he heard animated 
voices in the house, and — recognized at once — the voice of Un- 
cle Philip. He hestitated with one foot on the lower step, his 
gaze riveted upon the open door; Mae saw him, and flew to the 
door, exclaiming : "Father, here he is ! He has come ! Roy 
is here !" 

"Come in. We were speaking of you only a minute ago. 
Come in, don't stand there like a bronze statue. Are you t-r.r- 
prised ?" 

"Surprised ? That's not the word, Mae, I am dumb- 
founded. How did Uncle Philip get here?" 

"When you know, maybe you will admit that wonders still 
happen." 

Mae escorted the amazed youth into the cozy room where 
Uncle Philip and Mr. Carl Brenner sat conversing earnestly. 
Roy heard his uncle say: "To be sure, that was the year. ] 
came to Philadelphia when I was a lad of fifteen. I ren^emuer 

101 



ALMA ilATER 

well the (lay yon left the dear old village in Germany You 
were two or three years my senior. And — -my rrood m;!ii — is it 
not wonderfnl that we shonld meet here in Illinois some thirty 
odd years later?" 

"Yes, it is; bnt. my dear friend, look who is here I" 

Uncle Philip turned and beheld IJoy and Mae standing in 
the center of the room. ]\[ae, smiling her sweetest, remarked 
to Uncle Philip: "See, Eoy came after you. He must have 
scented you here." 

"Roy, my dear boy, were you troubled when I disappeared 
so suddenly?" 

"I — I cannot say that I was. Surely, 1 am glad to see you 
here, but what occasioned your coming?" 

The follwing explanation served to enlighten Roy. The 
Inspector had introduced Philip Keller to Carl Brenner and, in 
the course of conversation, it evolved that the two were reared in 
the same village in CJermany. ]Mr. Brenner was so pleased with 
this revelation that he insisted upon Uncle Philip's acceptance 
of his hospitality for the short time that remained, in order 
that they might rehearse boyhood memories. 

^lae and Roy sat on the porch, while the two friends still 
talked about the good old days in fJermany. They forgot all 
about the couple on the ])orch. The young folks were liappy. 
and yet a sweet sadness stole into their hearts in anticipation ot 
the ])arting hour. Not a word revealed what was in the minds 
of both, yet they understood each otlier. — 

The two men now came out on the porch and Uncle Philij) 
said : 

"Roy, our lime is up. Come, lad, we must go. Mr. Bren- 
ner will drive us back to the (ollcge and tomorrow we will ))e 
on our way to your mother. Are you not glad, Roy?" 

"Yes, uncle." 

103 



ALMA MATEE 

The little phaeton, with the balky white marc hitched to 
it, appeared and all left the porch, — TJoy an<l Mae to^vther. 
hand in hand. Xo one noticed this, and no one saw Koy sliji a 
little note into ^lae's hand as they neared the gate. Silently 
all shook hands, then good-byes were said and Roy ])assed ont 
of Mae's sight. She flew to her room, and — how her heart did 
beat when she unfolded the little paper and read the follow- 
ing: 

^ly love, can you conceive 

How dear you are to me? 

On my life's lonely pl,ain 

The only flower I see; 

In earth and heaven above 

The only shining star, 

The cause of joy and tears — 

M\- life and death a'ou arc. 




103 




CHAPTER VI. 

LMHUEST College was deserted. The buildings lay in 
deep silence and at night presented a gloomy aspect. 
The first few days the ten boys that remained during 
vacation felt very lonesome, but gradually grew accus- 
tomed to the sudden change that prevailed after clos- 
ing exercises. 

The boys remained, some because they had no relatives, 
and others because they were too poor to venture on extended 
trips. During the day they found employment, however, in the 
big vegetable garden and in the field. They had the evenings 
to themselves and enjoyed much freedom, for the house rules 
were only partially enforced. The days seemed long and 
dreary, even though the boys went fishing and swimming and 
roamed about in the country, visiting here and there when no 
work kept them indoors. Yet, life became monotonous. One 
evening one of the boys, Henry Bergman by name, suggested 
that they do something really worth while with their evenings. 
"But what can we do?" asked the others. 

"Let me tell you," said Henry Bergman. "I have thought 
the matter over and believe I have found the solution. For at 
least three evenings in the week I think we can do something 
worth while. If at any time any thing else presents itself, we 
shall take it up. I suggest that we meet Monday evenings to 
sing German Folksongs. I shall be glad to instruct and lead 
you as far as it is necessary and I am able to do so. Wednes- 
day evenings Ave will arrange for some literary work, say, read- 
ing German classics and our own little compositions on any- 

104 



ALMA MATEE 

thing about which we wish to write. And on Friday evenings 
let us invite all the people on the place, including Abraham 
and the hired help in the household to unite with us out here 
on the big lawn and listen to "storytelling". I feel convinced 
that if we try to fill out these three evenings in this manner and 
in the right spirit they will not only be of great benefit to us, 
but will also add pleasure and enjoyment as well. Wliat say 
you to my suggestions?" 

Bergmann's suggestions were joyfully accepted and it was 
planned that they organize so that each one should know his 
duty. Those evenings were very profitably spent, especially 
Friday evenings. The first "storytelling" evening was not at- 
tended by all the members of the different households of the 
professors, but the second and third were a complete success, 
with no one missing, for all enjoyed "storytelling" evening. 

These Friday evenings were not devoted to rehearsing com- 
mon little jokes and funny, possibly questionable, stories. No; 
Henry Bergmann did not permit that kind of storytelling, but 
insisted upon narrations of real incidents in life. Should one 
in their midst be unable to relate an incident of general interest, 
he was charged to invent one, for the object of the meeting was 
not only to entertain, but to profit by practice in the art of 
storytelling. When the fourth Friday evening came around 
there were many villagers present, for they had heard of the 
enjoyable success of the previous ones. They were determined 
not to miss any more. 

This very evening something unusual happened. The peo- 
ple were assembling on the lawn, while some few had brought 
chairs. As usual Henry Bergman had the affair in hand. He 
announced that the first story would be told by Fred Zumstein. 
It was a short, dear story of two children, brother and sister, 
who had gotten lost in the woods to which they had wandered 

105 



ALMA MATER 

without the knowledge of any one. When night came on they 
crawled into the hollow of a sycamore tree, but finally were 
found by their parents just when a terrific storm broke. 
Lighting struck a neighboring tree and it crashed dow n on the 
end of the hollow sycamore. The little boy came out to see 
what had happened, when he was seen by his parents, and both 
children Avore taken home in the rain. 

Xow .lolm Schuler's turn had arrived, and every one was 
anxious to hear him, for he was a splendid story teller. But 
Bergman arose to announce: "Ladies and Gentlemen! I am 
\'ery sorr}', but this number on the program must be omitted. 
John Schulor was taken sick very suddenly and is too indis- 
posed to tell his story. No doubt he had a good one. I am 
sorry, but there will be no more stories tonight." 

"]\[r. Bergman!" Someone called from the audience. "Will 
you permit a word from me?" 

"Certainly, what is your wish?" 

"A few weeks ago I was liere and heard you tell the story 
ol' Valesca, the Gipsy Girl. I liked your way of telling stories 
and would, tlierefore, ask you to act as alternate for John 
Schulei', if you will. I know that in requesting this I am voic- 
ing the sentiment of the audience." 

This was immediately seconded by many voices. But 
Henry Bergmann did not like the idea. He was taken by sur- 
prise and was not ready with a story. 

"My good people, but you must consider — I am not — " 

"Yes, you are! Story! Henry Bergmann, story!" 

"Give me time to think — " 

"All right, think!" 

Silence reigned, and Henry Bergmann stood a few minutes 
looking up at the starry heaven while he pressed his hands to- 
gether tightly. Then he said: "My father was a detective — " 

106 



AJMA :mateii 

"Dood. a defective story, is tliat it?" cried someone, and 
others: "(u) ahead, <:o ahead! Tliat will be all right." 

"My fatlier was a detective in the great City of Berlin, 
Cermany. One evening he was invited to a dinner, at which 
the kind hostess asked him if a criminal had ever managed to 
escape from him? 

'•You overrate me, Madam," said my father, "l must say, 
to my OAvn chagrin, it has occurred often and the number that 
escaped is greater, 1 am sure, than those that I landed in pris- 
on." 

"That is not exactly what 1 mean. Have you ever been 
convinced of the guilt of a person and yet failed to bring tliat 
person to account? That's really what I mean. For there may 
be cases where human sympathy is with tlie culprit, — " 

"Sympathy must never be a part of a detective, for he 
knows only the law. And yet there are cases — " 

"Here my father stopped, because a certain case sjjrang to 
his mind. But the fashionable gathering feared he would stop 
altogether, so they cried: 'Tell the story! We want to hear 
the story!' 

"Then my fatlier continued . Yes, yes! 1 am about to be- 
gin, but permit me to collect my thoughts. How shall I begin ? 
A certain Professor Brommel— of course, I take the liberty of 
changing names — reported a theft at police headquarters. I 
was charged with the case, which was not an everyday occur- 
rence in the criminal world. 

"One evening in the absence of the professor thieves had 
c]itored his dwelling, evidently by the use of a skeleton ke3^ He 
was a bachelor and lived alone, although during the day a serv- 
ant was employed in the house. The burglars had opened the 
writing table without force, since it was unlocked, and — this is 
the strange part- — they did not take from it money or valuables, 

107 



ALMA MATER 

l)ut a manuscript which the professor had hut recently finished. 
The manuscript, which the professor considered epochal, treated 
of the spheres of certain planets, for he was an astronomer. He 
was besides himself when he realized that he had lost a work of 
many months of very exacting labor, especially since he had 
destroyed most of his original copies, which could not be re- 
placed. 

"It was clear to me from the start that I was confronted 
with no ordinary crime. Either some one was bent upon playing 
a joke on the professor, or it was an act of perfidy perpetrated 
])}' some other professional man. For it is an established fact 
that professional men are sometimes thrown into fits of vio- 
lent passion by their own vocations or hobbies, as the case may 
be — Just like the common criminal who is after gold, or the 
rejected suitor who goes into fits of Jealousy. Any passion may 
become a cause for some form of crime. 

"I, therefore, determined to proceed on tliis theoory. De- 
spite the agitation in which I found the professor, he evidenced 
marked reticence regarding my questions. He maintained he 
suspected no one, that he knew of no enemy whom he could 
accuse of siich an act of malice. Besides, no one had any knowl- 
edge of his finishing the manuscript. Only the evening before, 
in his joy at having completed the manuscript, he had men- 
tioned it to some of his colleagues while at a dinner. But none 
of them followed the profession of astronomy, therefore none 
of tliem would have played the Joke on him. 

"The investigation on the premise evolved only one clue 
and that was a serious one. The dwelling of the professor evi- 
dently was opened with the original key, or with an exact dupli- 
cate. Since there was no duplicate according to the professor's 
evidence, there was but one conclusion : during the dinner 
some one must liave ])urloincd tlie professor's key from his over- 

108 



ALMA MATEK 

coat pocket before the diners dispersed. The professor, by the 
Avay, admitted he had the key in his overcoat pocket, which, of 
course, he had left in the cloakroom. 

"I then went to the woman in charge of the cloakroom 
and found that only one person had left the dinnertahle, and 
that 'was Miss Ada Gilter, the rector's daughter. Miss Gilter 
told the woman she had forgotten her gloves, which, of course, 
was a ruse, ajs the woman saw Miss Gilter with gloves on. She 
also admitted that Miss Gilter was alone in the cloakroom, while 
she went out to secure a cab for her. It was now an easy mat- 
ter to find the cabdriver. The young lady was most careless, 
for she had ordered the cabdriver to drive directly in front of 
the professor's house. After accomplishing her purpose she 
returned to join the diners. The whole thing had taken place 
so rapidly that no one noticed the absence of the rector's daugh- 
ter. 

"The chain of evidence was thus closed. Some undelin- 
able sentiment, however, prevented me from informing the 
police of the result of my investigation. I wished to speak to 
]\riss Gilter first and, if possible, secure from her the reason for 
her actions. I found her at home alone. When I entered she 
stood at the window holding in her hand my card, which T had 
given the maid at the door. Slowly she turned to mo, saying: 
'Have you come to arrest me ?' 

"Her words confirmed my suspicion, but also for a mo- 
ment confused me. I then said: 'I have come to find out why 
you — ' 

"Why I stole the manuscript?' She finished the sentence. 
'I beg of you not to hesitate. In your eyes my act is theft, but 
you shall know my reason. Professor Brommel is the thief. 
Several months ago I handed him a letter from my fianc^, 
thoughtlessly, and begged him to read it. In this letter my 

109 



ALMA MATEE 

fianc^ made the first communication concerning a new pro- 
fessional treatise.' 

'Your fianc^ ?' 

'Yes, the late assistant to Professor Brommel, now at the 
conservatory at Landsitz. The object of the treatise was to 
secure for him a permanent position and a home for us. Pro- 
fessor Brommel stole the idea. Only yesterday he gave liimself 
away. By chance I heard of it and secured the manuscript. I 
expected him to call me to account, for I left my card in place 
of the -manuscript. Did he say anything about that?' 

'May I ask, what is your intention now, what are you go- 
ing to do?' 

'I shall keep the manuscript till the treatise of my fianc^ 
shows up. No power, not even the police, will force me to re- 
turn it sooner.' 

'I bowed, took my hat and silently left the room. That 
was the only time I assisted a criminal. But I have never re- 
gretted it.'" 

All had listened attentively while Henry I^ergmann s])oke. 
Wlicn lie had finished he announced that the pi'ogram for that 
evening was at an end, but requested the audience to join in 
singing the second last stanza of Hyman 443 in the old Evan- 
gelical Hymnbook, with which every good Evangelical Christian 
is familiar and which, in English, would probably read like this: 

Unfold Thy wings of love and grace, 

Jesus, whom my Lord I pride, 

And gather in Thy erring child; 

Let Satan's threats be lost in space. 

Instead, let Angels sing divine: 

This child shall be unharmed, 'tis mine! 

110 



ALMA MATER 

Thus tlie evenings during vacation passed pleasantly and 
profitably for the few students that remained in Elmhurst 
Were it possible to record how all the boys at home or elsewhere 
spent that precious time, in all probablity it would make, partly 
at least, uninteresting reading, — but Elmhurst students had 
been taught whether at college or elsewhere to keep the honor 
of their Alma Mater foremost in mind. May it be said, the 
majority never lost sight of it. 




Ill 




ALMA MATER 



CHAPTER VI i. 

OY Keller and Uncle Philip arrived home in safety. 
And there was gTeat happiness in the little home of 
the boy, who had much to say in praise and honor of 
his Alma Mater. This highly pleased his parents. 
And Uncle Philip went on to Philadelphia with the 
best wishes of Roy and his parents, for all felt indebted to him. 
Poy remained at his home most of the time and was always glad 
to welcome Robert Becker, who frequently came to visit him. 
Robert had changed to his advantage. He was now a splendid 
young man of nearly eighteen years, sedate and very polite in 
his manners. Roy's society was no longer obnoxious to him, ra- 
ther a source of pleasure and assistance. Yet Roy observed some- 
thing that gave him pain; Robert did not seem to be in robust 
health. Y^et neither touched upon this delicate question. The 
boys were together sometimes for daj's, and every time they 
parted their friendship had been strengthened. 

Of course, Roy paid his old pastor a visit. The venerable 
gentleman was overjoyed to see him. Laying his hand on Roy's 
head, as he was wont to do while his pupil, he said, "Roy, my 
boy, I hope to live long enough to lay my hands upon your 
head on the day of your ordination. May God grant me that!" 

The most interesting feature of Roy's vacation was his 
correspondence with Mae Brenner. It amounted to nothing 
serious, for both were young and inexperienced, nor was it 
"fast and furious". There were only three or four letters ex- 
changed, but — of course — they meant a world of happiness to 
both of them. It was such a sweet and novel thing to write and 
above all to receive those short missives of unique friendship. 

112 



ALilA MATER 

For when Mae wrote tlie following it seemed to indicate no- 
thing more than friendship: 

'"0, Roy, since you left I am just a little upset. I seem to 
do everything wrong. Father asks me, are you dreaming, Mae ? 
I suppose it's because I think so much of you. The other eve- 
ning I went through my little flower garden — you've seen it, 
do you remember? AVell, next day I wanted to answer your 
letter and thought you would like it, if I sent you a rose. So 
I went out to see, and sure enough there was a bud that would 
be open in the morning. I went to bed and hoped to dream of 
the rosebud and of my letter to you, even of you. Why not? 
Honestly, I hoped to dream of you, but I didn't. — 

'"When I came to the rosebush in the morning, what do you 
think had happened to the budding rose? Father was biting 
it's stem between his teeth. He was up before me and saw the 
rose first. See, now you get nothing. 

"Another thing happened. 1 think it was last Tuesday; I 
was ready to prepare tea for supper. Father won't drink coffee, 
because it makes him nervous so that he cannot sleep. Well, I 
got my teapot from the ledge and, do you know, first thing I 
knew I was in the barn stroking Bessie's brown shoulders, and 
was Just about to start to milk her when August (the hired 
man) came and wanted to know what I was up to? Do you 
want white tea for supper today? I know my face reddened 
and I ran back to the house. 

"And still another thing came to pass. Yesterday I was 
trying to get dinner for Father. I wanted to fry steak. At 
the same time I intended to burn waste paper that I had put 
next to the stove. I had the skillet in my hand ready to put 
over, when I first gTabbed for the waste-paper. But I hurled 
the steak into the fire instead of the paper. Worst thing was 
I could not save the steak. But it made a bright fire. Now, 

113 



ALMA MATEE 

what do 3'OU think of me? I tell you these little things just 
for fun, don't you know? I don't understand myself why I 
should be so absent-minded. I wasn't that way before, it's only 
since you left. 

By the way, I want to tell you, — do you remember the 
little poem you slipped into my hands when you said good-bye ? 
I know you do; well, do you know what I did with it? I know 
you could never guess. I've got it in a little glass frame that 
just fitted, and now it's standing on my dresser. Do you know, 
Koy, I am proud of you. Good-bye. With best wishes, 

Mae Brenner. 

Eoy's letters were just a trifle more serious, but in general 
written in the same style. It is obvious that neither Roy nor 
Mae really knew what was occuring within their hearts. They 
were not in a position to judge, nor did they try. It was im- 
pulse with them and ecstacy. The time had not arrived when 
Cupid aims with determination. 

lioy had his photograph taken and, of course — in reality it 
was done for Mae's sake. He sent her the picture. He had 
none of her, had never seen one of her. When he asked her 
for one of her pictures she wrote in return: "I don't know 
about that. Eoy, you had better be satisfied with what you re- 
member of little me. I am afraid the photographer will make 
a mess of my eyes. You know they are light brown, but he 
will have them black, and I see nothing in a black eye, no ex- 
pression, no goodness, no — ah well, I don't like them, that's all. 
So you please wait^ — maybe some other time." 

In this innocent manner their few letters of friendship 
were exchanged, until vacation came to an end. 

Time flew, and before Eoy knew it he was once more get- 
ting ready to make the trip to Elmhurst. He and Eobert trav- 
eled together. It was a pleasant trip for both. The nearer 

lU 



ALMA MATER 

they came to Chicago, the more did Ko}- wish to greet his Ahiia 
Mater. The}' arrived in Chicago and met many of the boys in 
the X. W. Station, all bound for Elmhurst. They were a jolly 
and happy crowd. Singing and shouting they at last alighted 
from their train at Elmhurst. Abraham was there as usual. 
He grinned broadly at sight of the happy boys and shook hands 
right and left, laughing and chatting with all. The boys helped 
him with the trunks, teasing him and cracking jokes over his 
wig, which seemed to cause him mortal fear, for when he 
stooped it refused to stick, Dick Burke, too, had a word to say 
when his cud was in the proper position. He hailed the "Dutch 
Students", saying: "Are ye back, ye rascals? Gad, what 
would I give, if I were like yez, so young and tough. But, d'ye 
know, ye are the cause of me health and failin. Neverthe- 
less, I am indade glad to greet all of ye." Dick was the 
same goodhearted Irishman, so everything else seemed the 
same, except to those who saw Elmhurst for the first time. 

It seems there is nothing that grips the heart of a person, 
be it boy or girl, so peculiarly as homesickness. The unfortu- 
nate one imagines himself to be a victim of secret pain that 
has no other tendency than to dissolve into tears. It was not 
unusual to find a boy the next day after his arrival looking for 
some lonely spot where he might give vent to his feelings; gen- 
erally the window of the dormitory facing north was selected 
as the most desirable place. There he would think of home and 
imagine he was actually lost to the world. The rain coming 
down incessantly made things rather worse. The boy could not 
endure the loud and jolly students coming up the stairs, nor 
their sitting on the beds telling all kinds of stories or keeping 
up a conversation that was obnoxious to him in the extreme. 0, 
how could they ? Had they no feelings ? Could they not 
understand his deplorable state? A homesick boy is no boy. 

1X5 



ALMA MATER 

When the bo}^ has not the quality, the energy and willpower to 
fight the malady he will eventually apear in the Inspector's 
office, where he pitifully pleads to be permitted to return home. 
This occurs every year. 

True, it is pathetic to suffer from homesickness, but in 
many cases it merely is the result of effeminacy. Boys trained 
in their homes with a view of equipping them to meet the reali- 
ties in life rarely succumb to an attack of homesickness. 
There may be a few that have never experienced it when away 
from mother for the first time, but the right sort of a boy will 
fight it valiantly. When a boy gets an effeminate training at 
home, wliich in reality is no training, he is seldom, if ever, 
equipped to meet the disappointments successfully as they in- 
evitably appear in new environments. 

A^ery few boys that came to Elmhurst were wont to say: 
"0, everything is perfectly lovely." On the contrary, tliey 
would naturally find fault; but the real, staunch and sturdy 
boy would say: "I shall make the best of it." These were al- 
ways in the majority, thank God; or from what source would 
our men spring? Those are the boys we need and want at Elm- 
hurst College, and not delicate weaklings. 

It is true, even the best of us will fall victims to this dread 
malady, homesickness, and will be affected for a day or two, but 
»vill shake it off as a strong, liealthy ni m an attack of chills 
and fever. Or someone will suddenly appear with a remedy that 
does not seem to 1)C a remedy. At Ehnhurst there was a person 
who sympathized with the homesick boy, but was wise enough 
not to let the boy notice this, for to sympathize in endearing 
words and deeds — make matters worse. That person was Abra- 
ham. He liimself did not know that he had the power to help 
the boy's sufferings, but acted instinctively. 

Al)raham, merely a hired man and \^iii!out education. 

116 



ALMA MATEK 

seemed to have an eye for such boys who were sick at heart. He 
would notice the boy in distress and would offer a remedy 
which varied with the case. He would say: "Get up on my 
wagon, I am driving to Addison. There is another big school 
there and many calves. I am going to bring one home, which 
our butcher, C. Thornburgh, will prepare for the table. Sunday 
you will have veal roast and mashed potatoes." The fact 
that another big school existed, and many calves, was an in- 
teresting catchword for the youngster, and he was anxious to 
^^ee for himself in what relation the school stood to the calves. 
And by the time the calf was safely landed in the Elnihurst 
shed the boy had heard and seen so much on the way that he 
forgot all about his homesickness. 

Or Abraham would spy another and say to him: "Come 
to my room tonight. Frank Tzarbell, Roy Keller and Johnny 
Bretz will also be there. Fine boys!" And when the boy would 
hear Tzarbell and Roy tell the latest stories it would work on 
him like a live wire. According to Tzarbell the following had 
occurred the previous night. 

"I overheard the following conversation last night. Joseph 
Mann said to the senior: 'Say, you leave the window open in 
the basement tonight when you make the rounds and lock up.' 

'All right. But why?' 

'1 am coming home late; you understand?' 

'Yes, all right.' 

"This was faithfully observed by the senior; however, sev- 
eral other boys also overheard the conversation. In due time 
they locked the window again and waited for the chap who was 
coming home late. AVhen at last he appeared and found the 
window locked he called up to the bedroom windows above: 
'Ho there, boys, open up, let me in !' They came to the window 
and wanted to know who he was 'Say, he must be a burglar', 

117 



ALMA MATEE 

said one to the other so that Mr. Latecomer could hear. 'No, 
I am uo burghir. I am one of you fellows.' '0 no, you may 
think we are slow. You are a burglar. You had better move 
on, or we will shoot!' Oh, have a heart, you know better. Let 
me in.' Just then three pitchers of water were swept from the 
window. Then a hihirious laugh was heard throughout the big 
bedroom, which finally brought the Inspector around to restore 
order." 

Then Koy told the next story. "Some time ago a box of 
fine 'smoked' pork sausage arrived at the old music hall build- 
ing, the sole owner of which was one Emil Dueker. The sau- 
sages were fresh and he decided to hang them out of the win- 
dow on a stick to let them dry. After due plotting by two com- 
rades who had a tremendous appetite for 'smoked' sausage, 
they decided to appropiate some of the sausages to satisfy 
their cravings. One went into the adjoining room with a ten- 
foot pole while the occupants of the other room were gone. He 
placed the pole behind three sausages at the outer end of the 
stick on which they hung for drying. Down below the window 
stood, 'watchfully waiting', the other bandit. One, two, three, 
ah — good catch ! Then they indulged and according to the 
old adage found that 'stolen fruit tastes sweetest.' The owner, 
however, went about secretly smelling the breath of every 
student, hoping to discover the odor of 'smoked sausage' on 
one or the other. Finall}', one day, two weeks latter, he smelled 
smoke on a fellow and said: 'Say, did you hook some of my 
pork sausage ?' 'Why no, I l^might some down at the butcher- 
shop.' However, he had to take Emil to his room to convince 
him. The evidence was fresh in a waste baket, 'Wursthaut' 
and 'Wurstzipfel', originating from a regular 'Wurstfab- 
rik.' Will the two guilty fellows confess before long? That's 
the question." 

118 



ALMA MATEE 

And when Bretz again stuffed his Powhatan pipe with 
genuine "Bull" Durham and began in his drastic manner to 
elucidate on the sweet satisfaction of puffing the substance of 
the "Devils Weed" in smoke, closing his speech with a thunder- 
ing laugh and his inevitable "Conslamity, Durhamity", the boy 
whom Abraham had invited laughed too, and his home sick- 
ness had vanished like vapor. 

For many these first days in new surroundings were mo- 
mentous days, and as we think of them now they have much 
similarity with the first days of school for a child. The only 
difference is that here boys of fifteen to twenty years enter a 
preferred high school, whereas there it is a child taking that im- 
portant step. It is generally assumed that only grownups know 
of the serious step in life. Vie forget, the child, even the col- 
lege boy is unconscious of the bearing of these first days at 
Elmhurst, for they mean everything for the future life of the 
boy. 

At the beginning of a new semester it was customary that 
one of the members of the Board spoke to the entire student- 
body on some topic pertaining to studentlife, or particularly 
on education, or elevation, or on the rules of the school, or — • 
what not ? There was one gentleman, who later was at the head 
of the Church, whom the students loved to hear, for he was a 
humorist and would be very comical sometimes. In one of his 
speeches he made the follwing remark: "Every school must 
have rules. It could not exist without them any more than the 
farmers in Iowa can leave their farms without fences. And 
our rules must be like those fences: horse-high, hog-tight, 
cattle-proof." 

But on one occasion he was very serious and delivered a 
speech which, on the whole, was something like this: 

"It may not be amiss to assume that there is too much im- 

119 



ALMA MATER 

portance attributed to our schools. Their importance is in 
many cases exaggerated. To illustrate : A lady was asked by her 
friend what caused her to be so very despondent and down- 
hearted. She exclaimed: 'Oh, the shame of it, the shame of 
it ! I do not know whether I shall ever be able to endure it all ! 
No longer can I look straight in the eyes of my fellowmen!' 
And what had happened? Nothing more than that her oldest 
son had failed in his examination and was not promoted. Let 
no one imagine this to be an exceptional case; on the contrary, 
many lament like this woman. People forget, or seem not to 
know that we learn the best and greatest lessons after we have 
left school. Men and women alike overestimate the school, and 
in doing this they underrate the importance and the value in 
the development of our boys. We find this overrating not only 
with the common class of people, but also with prominent edu- 
cators and instructors in a manner that must, at least it should, 
impel real thinkers of the day to arrest the false impression 
they make on the youth in particular. They will have us be- 
lieve and accept the supposition that "education" as it is pro- 
mulgated in our schools and colleges is the salvation of man- 
kind and the only source of happiness and peace of mind. It 
is emphasized again and again by instructors, public speakers 
and lecturers that all evils in public life will be overcome 
through education. 

"Anyone with sound reason will gladly give due honor to the 
remarkable efforts today to impart education. At the same 
time the question arises like a huge stumbling block: what 
are the results? One only needs to point to the rude and un- 
polislied, even ignorant, youth as lie comes from our schools, 
to say nothing of the degenerated youth in the great centers of 
population, in order to give the lie to this statement. The 
claim that education will eventually obliterate all evil contra- 

120 



ALMA MATER 

diets itself by the fruits of our educational endeavors, for: 
'By their fruits ye shall know them.' 

"The most important thing in well-training — we have no 
equivalent for the German word 'Erziehung', and its meaning 
seems to be an unknown factor in our schools — must be done 
in our homes. But where is the home, sweet home? We have 
houses, even mansions to live in, but seldom a home and hearth 
where at the round table or before the hearthstone the soul of 
the youth is educated by truly loving parents to honor and 
obey. The home is sacrificed, and the clubroom and outside 
amusements are substituted. The result of this is detrimental 
to the youth in particular and a tremendous injustice to the 
public in general. 

"It remains an irrevocable truth that education without 
Christian religion for its basis, and an endeavor to cultivate 
the mind and not the heart and soul, is nothing more than 
building aircastlcs, and will leave the youth only a polished sav- 
age after all, not one recognizing himself as being made in the 
image of God. That must be the aim of all education. That we 
are far from this truth can be proven by everyday occurrances. 

"Compassion, for instance, is a human virtue that should 
be universally practised by people living under direct Christian 
influence, but it is not wrong to say that this sublime virtue is 
universally neglected. Incidents from puiblc life prove it. 
There are thousands at our disposal, but let us consider only 
one. There is no need for many words, the mere facts as they 
appear and are recorded in court preceedings Avill suffice. Here 
is one: 

"An inquiry was held respecting the death of one Jacob 
Mills. He and his son were cobblers working day and night 
trying to earn tlioir daily bread and pay for the room which 
they occupied, so as to keep the home together. On Tuesday 

131 



ALMA MATER 

Mills got up from his bench and threw down the boot at which 
he was working, saying: 'Someone else must finish it, I can do 
no more.' There was no fire and he said: 'I would feel bet- 
ter, if I were warm.' Mrs. Mills, therefore, went out to try to 
sell a pair of mended boots, but only received the small sum of 
25 cents for them. Her son sat up all night mending, but on 
Wednesday 'MWh died. A plain case of starvation. 

"The Coronor said: 'It is strange, but why did you not go 
to the workhouse?' 

"Witness: 'We wished to keep the comfort of tlie little 
home.' 

"They wondered wluit the comfort might be, for they saw 
only a bit of straw in the corner and broken windows. But the 
witness began to cry and said they had a blanket and other little 
things. Five years before ]\Iills had applied to a relief associa- 
tion. The oHicer gave him a loaf of breail. snying: Vl f you eome 
again, you will be chased.' 

"Finally the Doctor said: ''J'he man died from exhaustion, 
■ — from want of food.' An autojisy revealed the fact that there 
Avas not a particle of fat in the body. Tbe jury returned the 
verdict: That death had resulted from exhaustion, superin- 
duced by lack of food, the common necessities of life and medi- 
cal aid. 

"Now then, is it not true that we neglect compassion? If it 
were otherwise, such a thing as related would be as impossible 
in a Christian country as a deliberate assasination permitted 
in its public streets. Christian? Alas, if we were but whole- 
somely un-Christian it wouUl be impossible. Imaginary Cliris- 
tianity leads us to commit crimes like these. We parade our 
faith like the Pharisee, distributing tracts for the benefit of un- 
cultivated swearers and drunkards, and thereby feel convinced 
that we have complied with the third commandment. Instead 

122 



ALMA MATER 

of building the church on the safe and sound rock of faith in 
riirist. witliout whom vro can do nothing, it seems that a 'won- 
derful enthusiasm' — or a 'fine spirit of consecration' — or an 
'unusual devotion of our jx^ople to the ideals of their church' 
is the essential requirement, when, in fact, it is but a meaning- 
less, shallow superficialty. Is not this hypocrisy in the ex- 
treme? You might be more likely to get electricity out of in- 
cense smoke than true action or compassion from such detiled 
modernized religion. We had better give up the spirit of sup- 
erficiality in one tinal expiration and look after Lazarus at our 
doorstep. Whenever men and women willingly join hands of 
compassion to help those in distress, there true religion will be 
manifested. Education alone will never bring this about. 

"Therefore, let those who enter any school or college re- 
member that superior training consists of something more than 
what the term 'education' as it is used today so superficially 
implies. These past fifty years Elmhurst College has stood for 
a sane, meaning a Christian, education, and it dare not change 
its position. For 'To know the love of Christ which passeth 
all knowledge' must ever be in the foreground. 

"Hence, when a young man enters Elmhurst College let 
him be fully aware that he is taking a very serious and import- 
ant step." 

For another reason those first days at Elmhurst were in- 
teresting, for everything was so new and strange. The early 
rising, little time for dressing, the hurried breakfast, the mak- 
ing of one's own bed, devotional services morning and evening, 
in fact, the hours of the day arranged like clockwork, all this 
was a source of criticism with some, while others admired the 
system. Some of the newcomers, being familiar with Benjamin 
Franklin's wise saying, "Time is money", were impressed with 

133 



ALMA MATER 

the stern fact that time did not merely fly, but when used with 
discretion spelt education. 

It was not easy to understand and comply with the many 
regulations enforced. There were always some boys that strove 
to evade unpleasant duties, but eventually yielded when they 
understood the wisdom and justice of the rules. Again, things 
occured that were not only new, but incomprehensible for one 
or the other boy. 

For instance, what did a boy who had just come from the 
farm know of a fire engine appearing on the scene? That did 
happen to the amazement of a newcomer. It was customary to 
inaugurate a firedrill for reasons self-evident, a drill undoubtedly 
planned for the special benefit of the newcomers. The small fire 
engine, fire buckets and hose were in readiness, when suddenly 
the danger signal sounded through the corridors. In an in- 
stant every one was in his place. The drill ended satisfactorily 
and strictly in accordance with precept. One of the newcomers 
was merely an onlooker, and when the trouble and danger, as 
he saw it, was over he remarked to one standing near him: 
"Eeally now, I smelt a smothering fire all morning." 

As a matter of fact, hazing was unknown at Elmhurst, but 
the newcomers were subjected to some kind of humiliation, 
when a group of older boys thought they deserved it. This 
year there were a few boys that objected to others eating Lim- 
burger cheese. They detested the aroma of Limburger cheese 
to such an extent that they became conspicuous, since they 
would not permit a weaker brother to eat Limburger in the 
room even in their absence. One evening when the Limburger 
fiends were assembled in the basement of the music hall and 
ate Limburger sandwiches several of the intolerants came down 
to M'ash their feet. They immediately began: "Pooh, pooh! 0, 
man, Limburger stinker!" 

124 



ALMA MATER 

Thereupon the Limburgers resolved to rub in a dose of it. 
They saved part of the rind until the next evening. Then they 
went to the bedroom of the intolerants and rubbed in a little 
on the inside seam of their pillow eases. When the vietims re- 
tired for the night to lay their weary heads upon their pillows 
for a good night's rest, behold they imagined their feet needed 
washing again. They arose, descended to the basement armed 
with soap and brush and made a new attack on their feet. 
Still the odor remained in their nostrils. Then one said unto 
his neighbor: "Say, when did you wash your feet last?" After 
denouncing all the others in the bed room for not washing their 
feet after a warm afternoon at playing ball, he poked his head 
under the cover. He thus got the full benefit of the cheese 
pillow. A light dawned upon him, when he said to a fellow 
sufferer: 'Tt isn't feet at all, it's — Limburger! Some kind of 
a donkey-jawbone rubbed it on the pillow case !" — 

However, of all the harrowing things newcomers were sub- 
jected to, the worst was the entrance-examination ; nothing was 
more dreaded than that. At that time Elmhurst was graced 
with a professor who, in his inimitable manner, knew how to 
ridicule ignorance, in which art, if such it may be termed, he 
even sometimes became cruel. 

The professor had his class in Latin. He was explaining 
a fable when the Inspector stepped into the class room with a 
new pupil, a roundcheeked farmerboy of fourteen or fifteen 
years of age, who was destined to increase his small store of 
knowledge. The examination began at once. The fable was put 
aside and the class had the unique pleasure of listening. He 
began in a fatherly tone, which the boys in the class had long 
ago learned to fear. He said: "Well, my boy, can you read?" 
A happy and victorious "Yes" was the answer. The boy's self- 
reliant air was bound to bring disaster. The boys in the class 

125 



ALMA MATER 

knew this only too well from experience. The examination in 
reading proved that there was no reason for self-reliance, nor 
in the test in writing. Again the boy answered with a proud 
''Yes" when the professor questioned him as to arithmetic. 
He passed on 2 and 2, also on 4 and 3; 17 and9 was solved after 
some deliberation. Then the boy admitted that he was able 
to work "examples." 

Considering his class and the fable, the professor now de- 
manded that the boy work the following "example." 

"A ship is two-hundred feet long, and thirty-five feet broad, 
and has one main mast of sixty-five feet;— find the — Captain's 
name!" 

The boy began to work and the professor took up the 
fable with his class again. After an hour the professor asked 
in a suave tone: "Well, my boy, how are you progressing with 
your 'example'? Have you solved it?" 

"No, I can't get it", said he, almost in tears. 

"I take no offence at that"; then, turning to the class, the 
professor said: "Had he told me that an hour ago, he would 
have exhibited common sense." 

A few months passed, and the boy left Elmhurst and went 
back to the farm. 

At college it is a common occurrence to attach nicknames 
to those that enter. As a rule the boys were dubbed soon after 
entrance, the names in many cases sticking to them through- 
out the course. There was one young fellow, George Maynard 
by name, who did honor to the adage: "I am from Missouri, 
show me." It may be safely stated that at the time the boy 
hardly knew of that saying, nor was it premeditation on his 
part, but for weeks he would ask questions, sometimes very 
foolish ones. One day he overheard a conversation concerning 
a newcomer, Paul Scheller by name. The question as to the 

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ALMA MATER 

place from Avliich ho ha i led was being discussed, for his appear- 
ance in rather fashionable clothes aroused curiosity. Finally 
one of them said: "Oh, what's that to us? Maybe he hails 
from St. Blazers, for all we know." 

Next day George, still much concerned as to the point 
from which Scheller hailed, said to one of his comrades: "Say, 
tell me, does Scheller really come from St. Blazers? Where is 
that place?" After that George was dubbed "Quiz". 

Another goodhearted fellow, A. G. C. Albertz by name, 
also from Missouri, had another weakness which merited him 
the nickname "Buyer". He was so much attracted by the many 
new things he saw that he almost developed a numia for want- 
ing to buy many things for which he had not the mone}', for 
he was poor. But the name sti;ck to him for many years. — 

It may seem paradoxical, but is true nevertheless, that 
even in those da^'s boys came to Elmhurst who could barely 
speak German, to say nothing of knowing how to read and 
write it. The little they knew was so faulty that it was difficult 
to understand how they were admitted as pupils. But it must 
not be forgotten, the church needed young men for the ministry, 
and the hope prevailed that the boy would eventually make 
good. For this reason he was accepted. 

As a matter of fact, such boys received special attention, 
privately from one of the professors in order to promote them 
in German. It is not surprising that the professor quite often 
shook his head when perusing or correcting small German com- 
positions which occasionally were to give proof of advancement. 
Eeally amusing things came to light. 

One of these boys was Carl Lenker. In all probability he 
was the weakest pupil in German, but for several weeks the 
professor had been drilling him privately and now ventured to 
try him on something more serious. So he said to him: "Now, 

1^7 



ALMA MATER 

Carl, 3^ou are getting along fairly well, we'll try a more difficult 
lesson. Suppose you come in tomorrow evening with your ver- 
sion of Goethe's "Erlkoenig." Not in verse, of course, but in 
prose. You read the poem, here it is; take the book with you. 
Now write in your own words the story of the "Erlkoenig." 
Stick to the text as closely as possible." And this is what Carl 
submitted the next day : 

Der Koenjg Earl 

Einmal zu einer Zeit, da war ein Koenig. Es war sein 
Name Earl. Der ging mit sein Junges reiten im holz und in die 
nacht. Das war den Leuten schpassig. Denn sie hoerten das 
reiten und die Ferd schlng Hart auf mit Foten. Jemand sagt 
da: "Wer trottet so hinter die Zeit bei der nacht im Wind?" Da 
kam antwort: "Es ist der father mit sein lieb junges." Er hielt 
es fast mit sein starkes arm, imd als es warm was fragt der 
Father es : 

"Mein junges, wie steckst du weg dein Gesicht es zu ber- 
gen?" 

"Father, gug — bei die Saiten unser ist der Koenig Earl und 
schweift mit die Krone." 

"Mein Junges, Dummheiten Dinge, das ist nur ein Mist." 

Dann nekt der Earl. 

"0, komm, du kleines infant, komm zu mich. Foil fiele 
Spile ich m.it dich spil. Die sehor hat liebliche Blueten ent- 
wickelt und meine Mutter gnadigt dich mit goldnes dress. 

"Mein Father, mein Father — und du hist "taub zu den 
woertern die Koenig Earl mir zu dem Ohre atmet." 

"Sei still, liebes junges, du hast fantasie. Nur ein wind 
wispert durch faule Blaetter." 

Dann noch einmal lockt der Earl. 

"Willst gehn — dann — lieb infant, willst gehn dahin mit 

128 



ALMA MATEK 

mich? Meine Maedel solleii dich tenden mit schwe^tersorge 
wcil sie bei nacht Banket halten und tanzen und :<chuetteln dicli 
mit Sang zu schlaf." 

"Mein Father, mein Father — und hist du jetzt blind? 
Kannst du nicht mehr schn dem Koenig Earl seine maedel im 
dunklen fleck?" 

"Mein jungee, bleibe ruhig, bleibe still, ich seh noch rechl, 
es leuchtet die weinende weide ganz graulich." 

Zur dritten zeit nekt der Earl. 

''Ich Hebe dir ich bin bezaubert von dich und deine schoene, 
teures junges, hist du aber ohne willen, dann muss ich dich 
forsen." 

"Mein Father, mein Father — der Earl greift mich fast an, 
er hat mich so leid getan!'' 

Xun trottet der Father noch faster in grosse Angst und 
uiiifasst das schuettelnde junges in die Aerme und trottet in 
die Korthaus-Yard und hat fil arbeit und much, und das junge 
in seinen Aermen war ohne bewegung — tot ! — 

The professor of ancient history was a very learned man, 
but a poor teacher. He would read page upon page of history, 
while the boys were sleeping, playing chess or domino or doing 
some other kind of mischief. It actually occurred that one day 
one boy of the class was so fast asleep that no one noticed it 
when he remained in the class room alone, with his head pil- 
lowed on the old-fashioned bench. When the next class assem- 
bled in that room the lad was still asleep. Then, as a jest, 
the entering class did not arouse him. The professor upon 
spying the sleeping lad wanted to know what had happened, 
and inquired as to his well-being. Thereupon, amid hearty 
laughter and an assurance that he was perfectly well, the boy 
was transferred to his class. The professor of history required 
that the boys write short compositions on an historical topic 

U9 



ALMA MATER 

once a month. One can almost imagine what a newcomer would 
write. The following is a fair illustration of papers that were 
handed the professor. This one the professor read to the class 
amid much merriment. 

The Pelopennesian War 

The pelopennesian war lasted from 430-400 B. C. which 
stands for By Ceasar. It is also called the thirty year war. 

Pelopennesus is a peninsular — with water on three sides 
and connected with the rest of the world by the ismus of 
panama. 

Once upon a time the people of athens let Mr. Deless Epps 
build a wall clean across the ismus. They wanted to stop the 
s])artans — which was a tuff people — from lookin over when the 
Olim Pig plays was pulled off. for some reason or other these 
Spartans was fond of a certain black soup made from bones 
of Black Bass Fish. They was always eatin it. 

Now, another thing — Deless Epps was a big grafter when 
he put up that big wall down there where ever that is and 
for that they forced him to swallow the polsend tin-cup. But 
when those tuft' and ruff and ready people — the spartans, of 
course — found out that they couldn't look over any more the 
whole thing turned out to be a ripping panama-skandal. And 
then they started the war with athens. And we know it was the 
pelopennesian war. First they licked the Athenians out of their 
boots at marathon which was the start of our marathon races 
but they came to the finish at last. Then they was ripped up 
in the great sea-encounter at — -Leibzig. When they tried to 
cross the Eubicon they was whipped again by Gideon and his 
three hundred valiant soldiers. Afterwards he was betrayed by 
Attila and was killed by the Thermometers. 

Also at that time Epaminondas was a inventer He invented 

130 



ALMA ilATER 

the so-calk(l crooked battle line because everything went 
crooked like in our days. But really it should have been Fred- 
erick the Great who invented that, because he won the victry 
with that crooked business over the Austrians at Kuners Valley. 

From that time the people from Athens was not able to do 
much, because the pest broke out to which their king perikles 
was victim. After his death democracy was set up under a 
tanner, Mr. Kleon. Everything was set topsy-turvy because 
the republicans wanted a different President. So at last the 
Spartans took the City, but they put up thirty presidents in- 
stead of one. The town was rooted. Then Peace was made 
and the war was over. — 

The farmer lads were not appalled by the rule for early 
rising, but the average student found it diflRcult to respond to 
the call at 5:30 a. m. The senior made the rounds at that 
hour to awaken the boys who were commanded to get up. Some 
were defiant, preferring to go without breakfast rather than 
forego that sweet, balmy sleep in the morning. 

In the old music hall, on the south side, was a bedroom, oc- 
cupied by probably twelve students who loved to doze a little 
after the senior's second round. One boy occupied a bed which 
stood so that he could overlook the trail usually followed by 
the Inspector in his visits to the music hall to ascertain who 
was suffering with the "Morgenkrankheit." One morning the 
storm doors of the college building had been thrown open (the 
Inspector was the one who always opened them on his way to 
the music hall) before the "watchman" gave the alarm. The 
students in nightshirts and shoes, carrying socks, trousers and 
shirts, ran down the three flights of stairs to the basement. 
The Inspector, standing at the bottom of the stairway, ex- 
claimed : "Well, well ; what's your hurry ?" — 

Robert Becker was a handsome young fellow, and made a 

131 



ALMA MATER 

splendid impression. lie was very studious and not at all in- 
clined to waste precious time. It did not anger him to see 
Roy one class ahead of him; on the contrary, he was proud of 
Roy's standing. There was something aboiit Robert that only 
Roy seemed to understand. The other boys were at a loss to 
know what it was, but secretly acknowledged that Robert Becker 
v/as all right. 

There is oiip thing Roy observed, however, that worried 
iiim. Robert did not seem well, and Roy said to him: 

"Robert, you seem tired, are yon not well?" 

"0, I don't know. I have not been strong since I had that 
severe cold of which I told you. At times I feel very weak, 
and my heart seems to quit beating. But never mind, that's 
nothing. Besides, you see I am working hard — T want to make 
good." 

"I know you will, but in order to succeed you must have 
good health. Maybe you had better consult — " 

''Ah, don't say that! I am all right." 

Roy said no more, for he realized that the subject was 
painful to Robert. But there were no better friends than the 
I wo boys. Roy often thought of the time when Robert looked 
down upon him in disdain. What a difference now ! How did 
this great change come about ? He marveled and ascribed it 
to the mysterious ways of God Almighty, and thereby was 
strengthened in his own heart for Robert's sake, and wished 
him well. 

A few weeks of the new term had passed, and gradually the 
boys were becoming familiar with the daily routine at Elmhurst. 
Boys wlio had been strangers became intimate friends, — one 
could always see them together. So Robert Becker was taken 
into the circle formed by Roy, Frank Tzarbell and John Bretz. 

The weather during the last days of September was excep- 

133 



ALMA MATER 

tionally fine. The days were getting short and the boys hailed 
the eool evenings, which were free for recreation. The work 
during the day was strenuous and the hour after supper was the 
time for relaxation. 

One evening, just as the sun was setting, the boys started 
on their accustomed walk through the park. The maple and 
elm trees were slowly being dismantled and the park was put- 
ting on the picturesque garb of autumn. As they entered a 
flock of blackbirds created an odd noise on the big lawn in front 
of ^Ir. Bryan's residence, then flew up and made straight for 
a cornfield near by. All the other birds of the park, with the 
exception of the bluejay, had departed for the south. 

The boys on their way to the park were discussing in- 
cidents of the day. That which they considered most interest- 
ing was that Longhead, the queer duck, as the Superintendent 
was wont to call him, had created a sensation when, in an 
animated debate after class, he claimed that Plato and Socrates 
were equally as great as Jesus of Nazareth. By this time the 
boys had reached the flight of stone stairs leading to the en- 
trance of Mr. Bryan's mansion, where they decided to rest a bit, 
as Mr. Thomas Bryan and family had started on a tour of the 
South. Eoy and Robert were shocked at such a comparison. 
Frank Tzarbell listened quietly for some time, then endeavored 
to change the subject, for he saw an opportunity to lead the 
boys into an interesting and profitable discussion. In his plain 
and outspoken way, Bretz had just remarked : 

"I'll tell you what I think Longhead is. He is a crank, 
conslamity." 

"Do you think a Christian can be a crank also?" asked 
Roy of Bretz, who was unable to reply. Robert answered the 
question. 

"It is difficult to comprehend how a man can be both, 

133 



ALMA MATER 

for, as I understand it, a crank is one who is thoroughly im- 
bued with one idea, — one who has a one-track mind." 

"Well said," replied Tzarbell. "A man of that type is a 
monomaniac. I for one can see no such possibilities in Chris- 
tianity — for — now all you think for a moment — do you not 
agree with me when I say Christianity is sanity? And when 
a man is a monomaniac he is not balanced, or, — as we say — 
there is a screw loose somewhere." 

"That's fine. I can understand that all right. Tzarbell," 
said Bretz, "but haven't you ever heard of religious cranks?" 

"Yes, I have heard people use that term, but I claim it is 
wrong. There may be ecclesiastical cranks of various shades 
and types, but the Christian religion has never produced a 
monomaniac, unless it be one already disposed to insanity who, 
in his unbalanced mental state, harps upon religion onesidedly, 
never in its true entity." 

"But, Tzarbell, listen to me," interrupted Roy, "How about 
Christ and His apostles? Where they not men who dwelt upon 
one subject? And have they not been referred to as cranks?" 

"I admit they have, but it is not true. I claim that Chris- 
tianity is sanity. If it were not so, the reformation by Luther, 
for instance, would have been only another form of madness, 
but it is an established fact that it was a revival of religion, — 
a returning to the Divinity of the Lord of life and glory. 
Christ was essentially sane — one feels that. Can you read the 
Gospel and not feel that those who wrote it were sane? They 
were not rhapsodists, nor is the Gospel a rhapsody, but a simple, 
truthful record of facts which they wrote in straightforward- 
ness. Nowhere do we read that they wonder at the wonderful- 
ness of the things they write. They are free from ejaculation 
and emotion over miracles which fairly stupify the reason as 
we read them now. True, they marveled at some of Christ's 

134 



ALMA MATEK 

sayings, but that was because Christ set thein to think that 
which they had never thought before." 

"That's all very well and good, but Christ and Paul, espe- 
cially the latter, were accused of madness." 

"1 know it, but not because of their actions, but because of 
what they proclaimed." 

"I think Tzarbell is right," interposed Eobert. "Christ and 
his apostles certainly proclaimed wonderful things that will 
amaze and stir even us today, but as laudable as enthusiasm 
may be at times, it must never be irrational, for that always 
hurts Christianity." 

"To be sure. Extravagance is not wisdom, but just claims 
are sure to find hearers and followers. Excess will be ridiculed, 
eagerness must keep in its bounds, indifference is damaging and 
fanaticism spells destruction. Therefore, Christianity is in need 
of inspiring advocacy, but not of vain enthusiasm, nor of fan- 
aticism — running riot." 

"Good!" cried Robert, "Walk worthy of the vocation where- 
with you are called,' 'not as fools, but as wise,' 'that the Gospel 
be not blamed !' " 

"I am glad to hear that of you, Robert; the Christian should 
in all things be a pattern," said Roy, "but a fanatic is a 
pattern for no one — he is to be shunned. 'We have received the 
Spirit of love and power' and have been blessed with a 'sound 
mind.' " : 

"Now, see here," ejaculated Bretz. "I have listened to your 
discussion, but you have evaded the question : what is a crank ?" 

"Well, Johnny," said Tzarbell, "my purpose has been to 
have you understand that a Christian cannot be a crank, or vice 
versa. — " 

"May I ask you this: — if Christ had lived in our time, 
would he not have been considered a crank?" 

135 



ALMA MATEE 

"Why, Bretz, how dare you? I call that an impertinence, 
and it is certainly untrue." 

^'You are right, Roy, but why? The reason is that there 
was nothing monstrous about Christ. Do you not feel that he 
was very natural — I might say — 'balanced?' That is really the 
fitting word when we stop to consider the marvelous power of 
co-ordination in Jesus. Can you point to any exaggeration in 
his speech or action ? To speak of Christ as a crank is not only 
sacrilegious, but the direct consequence of wrong thinking and 
a disregard of facts." 

All were quiet for a while, then Bretz again spoke. "All 
right, Tzarbell, we'll take your word for it. Since you deem it 
sacrilegious to entertain the thought that Christ might be 
called a crank, do you admit there are cranks in the world?" 

"Of course, I do, but I do not mean by that that cranks are 
necessary. Every machine must have come kind of a crank, and 
it seems that no cause can get along without cranks. You 
may think it strange that there are so many, and may ask why 
they exist at all. I, for one, think that our loose thought and 
talk are — in part at least — responsible for the multitude of 
cranks that infest State and Church. I think you will readily 
admit that cranks are generally found where there is the most 
hypocrisy, whether in Church or State. Hypocris}^ and su- 
perficiality are the hotbeds in which cranks are bred." 

Here Roy smiled, but before he could say anything Bretz, 
who was now unusually interested, spoke again. "Tzarbell, it 
seems to me as though you were making a special study of 
'crankism'. ISTow, didn't I say that right ? How about it, 
Tzarbell T' 

"Not exactly — I think this is a question of common sense. 
The trouble is we do not allow our good common sense its 

136 



ALMA MATER 

rights. We arc afraid to think and then wish to draw logical 
conclusions, which is nonsense." 

"Then you do not believe that the crank has a lasting in- 
fluence on his contemporaries in any cause he may espouse?" 
"That is my candid opinion. For a man is himself only 
when he controls all his powers, as a machine is sound only 
when every part acts in its designed place. Only he who is rec- 
ognized as a 'balanced' man will be fitted to influence others 
permanently. This he will do through his sound and sane 
mind. In fact, 1 believe the crank is always a menace, for when 
a man loses his mental balance he loses power. You will grant 
me this: lopsidedness is not strength. So far as I know, no 
crank has ever achieved anything worth while. The crank 
sits in judgment over all who differ with him, and demands that 
his thoughts shall be their thoughts. This holds good for 
cranks of all kinds, political, ecclesiastical, or in any walk of 
life, but the ecclesiastical, or the so-called religious, crank is 
the worst and a special aifliction." 

"All right, Tzarbell, you have done well; we will forgive 
you this time, but I move that we go to our rooms now. Time's 
up!" 

When Eoy thus called off the discussion the boys rose 
from their seats and left the park. Bretz was walking with 
Eobert, but could not keep quiet. 

"Well, it's over. What do you think of Tzarbell, anyway, 
conslamity ?" 

"I think he is all right." 

"But where does he get all the stuff?" ^ •; 

"He reads and above all — he thinks." 

Roy and Tzarbell walked in silence for a little v>'hile, then 
Roy hummed a little song, the words of which he hardly cared 
to have Tzarbell understand, for they came to him as the boys 

137 



ALMA MATER 

walked away from Mr. Thomas Bryan's front porch. Besides, 
they were extemporaneous. Tzarbell, however, was inquisitive, 
as usual, when he heard Roy sing in a very low tone. 
"Are you singing a new song to that old tune?" 
"Listen, and then tell me how you like it." 

The whippoorwill is calling 
In monotone his mate. 
Then from the meadow softly 
She eehos him the — date. 

Full soon the boys are sleeping 
In Alma Mater's care. 
While moon and stars are gleaming 
Celestial and fair. 

I hear from Elmhurst College 
A hymn through night and space. 
It swells my soul in rapture — 
Before the throne of grace. 

"Not so bad, but you have done better. I miss the 'con- 
necting link' between the first and second stanza. You must 
have been in too big a hurry. But it will do to hum after list- 
ening to that discussion on — cranks. Ha, ha! Now, that it's 
over, I cannot blame you for opening a safety valve." — 

Soon the boys were all at work at their desks and the day 
came to a close as any other day. 

On a beautiful day in October the boys were given a holi- 
day, and each was at liberty to spend the day according to his 
fancy. Frank Tzarbell, Bretz and Robert begged Roy to ac- 
company them, as they had planned to go nutting in a forest 
about five or six miles from P^lmhurst where a cluster of pecan- 

138 



ALMA MATER 

trees was yielding a big harvest of nuts, but Roy politely de- 
clined, 

"What do you intend to do all day?" asked Bretz. 

"0, never mind, I shall find something to do. When you 
return tonight the question will be, who has made the best of 
the day, you or I ?" 

"No question about that", said Robert Becker. "We are 
going to take along a big basket of lunch, and I am to roast a 
chicken on a spit. Will that not induce you to come with us ?" 

"Something tells mc I must not go." 

"Is that a premonition ? 0, you fatalist." 

"Besides", put in Tzarbell, "we are going to make a little 
side-trip to a small river, which we will cross and then come 
home by another route. 1 have forgotten the name of the river, 
as it is an Indian name and, therefore, rather difficult to re- 
member. Of course, it is only a very small stream, but it will 
be a treat in this monotonous country." 

Roy wished the boys luck in their nutting expedition and 
much pleasure. A little later he, too, left the college grounds 
and went to the little woods that he loved so well. Here he 
had built a comfortable seat between two trees, where he could 
write, read and meditate. He supplied himself with pencil and 
paper, in case he should feel inclined to write. Roy, who al- 
ways carried with him something by his favorite poet — Edgar 
Allen Poe, — had a reputation in college as the best reader and 
was highly commended for his excellent rendition of Poe's 
"Raven" and "The Bells." 

It was one of those rare autumnal days, when the sun 
beams upon the earth and the air refreshes and invigorates. 
After Roy had read a while he gave himself over to the charm 
of the season and allowed it to play upon his imaginative soul. 
Being stirred to music and rhyme through the expuisite lines 

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ALMA MATER 

of Poe, he wondered why it was that poets and musicians find 
it comparatively easy to give color and tone so striking and 
appropriate to springtime, when nature is clad in raiments of 
flowers and warm sunshine, but not also to Autumn. He 
thought he had found only few that had that ability. 

Giving the matter a second thought, however, it seems 
natural. We hail springtime with joy, but autumn casts shad- 
ows of grave thoughts into our souls. The rush and gush and 
overabundance of life is more sympathetic to us than sad sighs 
of departing life. We greet the newborn babe Just entering the 
race of this world with happiness and exultation, but we weep 
tears of sorrow at the bedside of one who has run the race and 
is slowly passing into the next world. 

It is a law of nature. Few only are capable of describing 
autumn in its mystic and solemn beauty, either in poetry, in 
music, or on canvass. Even the most gifted must admit his 
inability. 

For a long time Roy sat meditating thus, and — suddenly 
his mind reverted to the Kentucky hills and the Ohio valleys. 
His remembrance' of those bright October days at home was 
vivid. He recalled the lighting up of every nook and corner of 
the valley that stretched out before his modest home; the dew- 
covered meadow glistening as though studded with diamonds: 
the Jet black swallows that flashed on their homeward Journey 
like so many stillettos in the morning sun ; the spiderwebs 
drawn from tree to tree, from grape-arbor to summer-liouse, and 
hanging over huge cabbage leaves and yellow sheaves of corn 
like silver threads. 

Then in imagination he stood by the creek and watched its 
clear waters run slowly over pebbles and moss-covered stones 
beside the rickety rail fence, through which leaped the greenish 
lizard, hiding in the shadow of the moistened sumac and the 

140 



ALMA MATER 

black thornbush. As far as he could see autumn had woven 
its wonderful threads of mystic power, — all demonstrating the 
one great truth: "The fashion of this world passeth away." 

Imbued with a sense of gratitude, Roy sat marveling at 
the wonders round about him. He was indeed thankful that 
he was able to appreciate the wondrous things of God in nature. 
Nor did he forget to attribute the greater part of his gratitude 
to his Alma Mater. Though the ability to appreciate the beau- 
ties of nature is inborn, Roy realized that learning and knowl- 
edge help to refine one's taste. He, therefore, felt inspired to 
pay some tribute of honor and love to his Alma Mater. He 
vowed eternal love for his school and blessed the day when his 
uncle Philip appeared on the scene to lead his life into the pro- 
per channels. He commemorated this happy hour by dedicat- 
ing the following verses to his Alma Mater. 

Like Mount Aetna and its crater 
When aflame, 0, Alma Mater — 
Thus my heart in love is burning 
But for thee in loyal yearning. 

Unto thee my life is given — 
All my efforts sweet as heaven, 
My pulsation — all my doing 
Is one holy, happy wooing. 

Thee I serve when dawn is breaking. 
Think of thee with eyes still waking 
By the lamplights late, and later — 
Dream of thee, 0, Alma Mater. 

And the mist before my vision 
Thou dispellest with precision. 
Thou revealest sweet divining 
Of my heart for thee yet pining. 

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ALMA MATER 

For thou art to me the dearest — 
True as steel and full the nearest; 
At thy lips I seek my pleasure — 
Alma Mater — sweetest treasure I 

Now Roy felt contented. He had done what others had 
done before him — given vent to his youthful fancy; wrought 
from his soul that Avhich, for the moment, was to him all im- 
portant. It seemed to him a happy thought to voice his senti- 
ments regarding his Alma Mater. It came from the bottom of 
his heart and was something he had lived through in his soul. 
Had he known, however, the destiny of the lines he penned with 
so much fervor, in all probability, he would never have written 
them. As it was, he was satislied and started back to the col- 
lege. 

Many of the boys had not as yet returned from their out- 
ings, but upon reaching his room Roy found Bretz, whom he 
was much surprised to see. 

"Why have you returned so soon ?" 

"We had bad luck, conslamity! You know I spoke of 
the little bridge. Well, Tzarbell and I passed over it safely, 
but Robert's boots were wet and slippery, and somehow he 
slipped and fell into the water. The water was pretty cold, too, 
you might know not very deep. We quickly pulled him to 
shore, but he had a bad chill and now is in bed with a high 
fever." 

Roy upon hearing such news hastily sought the sickroom. 
Robert was in bed, his lips were parched and his eyes glistened 
strangely, but he smiled as Roy entered. 

"What on earth has happened?" 

. "Nothing much. I got a ducking, that's all." 

143 



ALMA MATER 

"Yes, but you are very ill. You were not in a condition to 
get that kind of a bath. I wish that I had fallen into the river 
instead of you. It would never have hurt me, but you 
— Robert, — I am worried." 

"Nonsense, please don't mention it. 1 will be all right 
again tomorrow." — 

Roy remained with Robert all night, and it was many a 
day before the patient was able to be up again, and then he was 
unfit for work. He was ailing and failing. It hurt Roy to 
see his friend so ill. Study and work, however, had to go on as 
usual. 



A k k 



A 



113 




CHAPTER Vlll. 

AYS and weeks sped on. Winter had come with blus- 
tering snowstorms racing across the plains. The in- 
habitants of Elmhurst College were forced to indoor 
life. The paths leading to and from the different 
buildings were covered with snow, and the cleaning of 
the paths was practically the only outside recreation for the 
boys. Some hailed it with joy, as the exercise was invigorating, 
while others foimd it hard and a veritable boredom. 

The old squeaking pump that stood between the two build- 
ings not far from the kitchen entrance was the only means of 
supplying the house with water. It stood over a deep well and 
furnished plenty of water, but unfortunately was also the 
source of great annoyance, as it was frozen up most every morn- 
ing and required tedious work to thaw it out again. Many fing- 
ers, noses and ears were frozen while in the process of doing it. 
The water used in the kitchen, laundry and the washroom 
which was built in the basement had to be carried there with 
buckets and tubs. This unpleasant job was assigned by the 
senior to certain boys alternately. The student of today has 
no conception what it meant, nor is he able to comprehend the 
hardship that had to be endured by giving undivided attention 
to the frozen pump so early in the morning. 

Time dragged monotonously until Thanksgiving Day, 
which, as a rule, was the first to bring a welcome change from 
the daily trend of routine life. In the forenoon a Thanksgiv- 
ing service was held in the chapel, in which due thanks were 
rendered God, the giver of all good and perfect things. The 

144 



ALMA MATER 

dinner gave evidence of prevailing festive spirit, though tur- 
key, cranberry sauce and mincepie were unknown gastronomical 
luxuries. 

The afternoon was given to recreation of some sort. Foot- 
ball was not known to the boys in those days. They would go 
visiting in the families of the villagers, providing they were 
able to secure the required permission from the Inspector. He 
had an eagle eye on some of them and would question them 
closely as to why they wanted to go. The question was rarely 
satisfactorily explained. 

The evening was given over to a concert in which the best 
talents of the school participated and to which many of the vil- 
lagers flocked. Patriotic speeches and recitations were de- 
livered with due fervor. In short, the day was made pleasant 
for one and all. 

WTiile the day was enjoyed so far as dinner and concert vras 
concerned, there were always some that managed to gain spe- 
cial pleasure from other sources. 

Tzarbell and Johnny Bretz planned a thanksgiving dinner 
of their own. They invited Roy to join them, but he declined, 
telling them he had another engagement. 

"Come now ! Conslamit}'', are you going to spoil our fun ?'' 

"No; nor do I wish to spoil the afternoon for myself." 

"But what are you up to ?" 

"Never mind, Johnny," said Tzarbell. "You can't blame 
Roy. I think I can guess where he is going, so let him go. Roy, 
we would like very much to have you, but — if you are so fortu- 
nate as to get something better than we can offer you, we'll not 
persist." 

They went ahead with their arrangements, and when the 
day came Tzarbell, Bretz, Scheller, "Buyer", "Doc" Cherry, 
John Bergmann and others — about ten in all — had accom- 

145 



ALMA MATER 

plished an extraordinary feat. Up in Roy's and Tzarbell'S room 
the dinner was spread. They were obliged to manufacture two 
wooden four-legged props, on which ten-foot boards were laid; 
and the table, destined to be weighted down with many good 
things, was completed. Next thing they needed was a table- 
cloth. Bretz suggested something near at hand: 

"Why not take a bedsheet?" 

"Say, did you eat off of bedsheets at home ?" 

"I don't know what mother used on the table, but — " 

"Don't say it. I'll get a tablecloth." 

"You? and where, may I ask?" 

"You may ask, for I am going to ask Miss Nett very politely 
for one." 

"Ha, ha, ha! I see your finish." 

"Finish? Here I go." 

Well, he got it. Miss Nett was "awfully nice" to him. She 
even blushed to the roots of her reddish hair. And when Tzar- 
bell left the room, with the snowwhite linen cloth glistening in 
his hand, he turned once more, saying: "Miss Nett, I am very, 
very much obliged to you. I shall save the wishbone of the 
turkey, and when I return with the cloth you and I will have a 
jolly tug at it. Be sure you have something to wish for." Miss 
Nett was shocked, but Tzarbell had the tablecloth. 

The turkey was bought and paid for by the boys. John 
Most let them have it for 9I/2 cents per pound, because he was 
in an extra fine mood. Tzarbell took it to the housekeeper, 
explaining to her he wanted the turkey dressed, roasted and 
carved in perfect style. 

"And what do you think I am? Am I your servant?" 

"Now, please keep calm. Do you think we boys have for- 
gotten your birthday ? I do not say that we know your age, but 
we are sure you are not much over 31 — and — and — do you 

146 



ALMA MATEE 

think wo could forget that day when — well now, I'll tell you, 
we'll remember you royally — " 

"Hush, you slick teaser, give me the bird and depart 
hence!" 

"Good, line! But when will the bird be ready?" 

"In good time, — now go." 

The turkey arrived on time and the boys saw it as the cen- 
ter attraction of the table. But Tzarbell needed more than that 
and therefore prevailed upon the other boys to get busy too. 
l-];)c]i one was told to secure something good for the feast. At 
la^rt the table was arranged and in perfect style. Bretz had even 
])rocured wine for the occasion. U})on showing it to Tzarbell, 
he praised the wine, saying: 

"Do you know where I got it? No? I knew you would 
never guess. It's from the preacher." 

"What? Did you go to Pastor Beaver? Are you — well, I 
almost committed myself! ' Do you know what will be said?" 

"No, what ?" 

"His daughters will have it all over town that we secured 
wine for our dinner." 

"Well, what of that? Conslamity!" 

"Roy and I promised the Inspector never to let it happen 
again, and — all right, you may drink, I will not." 

The boys seated themselves, the dinner was about to be- 
gin. It was 6:30 p. m., and there was no time to lose, since the 
concert Avas to begin at eight o'clock, Roy and Tzarbell being 
on the program. The boys fell to. Bretz filled the glasses, 
then suggested a toast, since Tzarbell refused to say a word. 
But he was anxious to first test the wine, because he imagined 
it looked — foggy — as he termed it. He put the glass to his lips, 
tasted, swallowed, then squinted over at Tzarbell and said: 
"Tzarbell, come here — just a minute — come here." 

147 



ALMA MATER 

Fearing that something was wrong, Tzarbeil quickly 
stepped to Bretz's side. "Well, what's the matter?" 

"Taste it." 

"I told you I would not." 

"I know, conslamity, but just see whether it's all right." 

"Very well, I v/ill accommodate you." 

He carefully moistened his lips, made a wry face and ex- 
claimed: 

"Do you know what the preacher gave you?" 

"No, what is it, conslamity?" 

"Vinegar!" 

"Great Caesar! V\'hat now, conslamity?" 

"That's what you pet for snubbing Annie and Tillie two 
weeks ago." 

"I? How so? What did 1 do to them?" 

"Don't you remember the game of Dominoes? The pas- 
tor's daughters had powdered their faces with something 
stronger than cornstarch, and you inquired as to the peculiar 
odor. Then you v/<?re so rude as to a>k them whether or not they 
had 'Batchuli' on their faces? When they asked what that was 
you said: That's Avhat Professor Kaufmann calls the extremely 
cheap stuff with M'hich vain girls powder their noses." 

"Gad, did I say that? Conslamity, durhamity!" 

"Yes, and n.ow they are rejoicing over the fact that they 
have tricked you. Take the stuff away and let the dinner go 
on. No one need know." 

Bretz was not the kind to allow a little incident like tliat 
to interfere with his appetite, and that night he had a horrid 
dream. He felt as though he were being carried by some un- 
known, unseen power tbrough space to the end of the world, as 
it were, and presently found himself perched on top of a 

148 



ALMA MATER 

swa3'ing tower, like unto the tower of Pisa. Swaying to and fro, 
he observed a grim, ominous lo®king bird that seemed to rise 
from the depths of a fathomless abyss. The fowl, bereft of 
feathers, save those of his pinions and sweeping tail, made 
straight for the abdomen of his intended victim. The tower, 
with its uncertain, pendulous motion, added to his distress, and 
he endeavored to cry out — "Get back into the tempest, bird or 
beast, take thy beak from my stomach," but failed, for the 
ghastly thing had vanished like vapor. But, alas, a new horror 
appeared, — out of the pit of infamy there arose an angel of re- 
venge, laughing like a hyena and clasping a steaming jug to 
his bosom. The monster blew the sour foam straight into the 
nostrils of the figure on the tower, producing a sensation of 
strangulation. With superhuman exertion, Bretz managed to 
give vent to his feelings in his usual "conslamity, durhamity." 
The monster poured the contents of the steaming jug over his 
face and, slipping a ])ag of cornstarch from the folds of his 
fluttering mantel, pa-ted up the eyes, ears, mouth and nose of 
his victim and then rolled him into the bottomless pit. 

At that moment Bretz awoke, to find his lower extremities 
on the bed, and his head and torso on the floor. Slowly raising 
his weary head, he sighed: "Conslamity, durhamity." 

Vv'hile Tzarbell, Bretz and the other boys were busy that 
afternoon preparing the famous Thanksgiving dinner, Roy Kel- 
ler busied himself with a matter infinitely sweeter than tht; 
most tempting dinner. He had planned to visit Mae Brenner 
that day. He had seen her only once since the opening of the 
school in September, and his longing for her was getting the 
best of him. He was in doubt, however, about securing pei- 
mission, as the Inspector had appraised him coldly when he 
asked for permission the last time. The Inspector fairly took 
his breath av.ay, when he said: 

149 



ALMA MATER 

"Roy, wliLt is the attraction? Is it the daughter of Mr. 
Brenner ? Or is it Bismarck, the big Dane ?" 

"Well, yes; I like to visit at Miss Mae's." 

"But don't you understand, Roy, girls are giddy and im- 
agine you boys want to marry them?" 

"1 hadn't thought of that." 

''Good, — I would advise you not to think of it. But you 
may go. My best wishes to Mr. Brenner." 

"Oh!" — sighed Roy as he stepped into the hall. His 
heart leaped for joy and he was unable to think clearly for a 
moment, — then he flew up the steps. In less time than it can 
be related he was on his way over the hard frozen country 
road to the home of Mae Brenner. Dismissing all thoughts of 
the boys and their dinner, he braved the cutting northwest 
wind, scarcely heeding it, and gave but a passing glance at the 
lads and lassies skating on the thin ice in the meadow. At a 
distance he observed with a keen sense of joy the blue smoke 
curling skyward from the chimney on the eastside of the house 
in which lived the one upon whom all his thoughts were concen- 
trated. 

Bismarck scented Roy, rose from the doormat, gave a so- 
norous bark of greeting and then ran to the gate. Tliere was no 
necessity for knocking, as Mae knew that Roy was near when 
she heard the dog bark, and hurried to open the door. 

Mr. Brenner came in from the barn, greeted Roy, and in- 
quired how it was that he obtained permission to leave the col- 
lege, as there was to be a concert that night. 

"0, the Inspector just let me go." 

"Yes, but how about the last rehearsal ? Is your presence 
not required ?" 

"No, sir, as I am to sing a solo. C. A. White is my accom- 
panist, and we have rehearsed our part." 

150 



ALMA MATER 

"You will stay for supper, will you not ?" said Mae. 

"If I can get back in time, I shall be pleased to accept 
your invitation." 

The three conversed for a while, when Mr. Brenner rose, 
saying he had to see his neighbor on some business. After her 
father's departure Mae seemed rather uneasy, Roy noticed it 
and said: 

"What is worrying you, Mae ?" 

"Why, how do you know something is amiss?" 

"I can't tell you just how I know, but I can see that you 
are worried about something. Am I right?" 

"Yes, and I might as well tell you. Father is going to 
quit farming." 

"What do you mean?" 

"He is going to sell out and leave this part of the country. 
I don't like to think about it." 

"When will that be ?" 

"In the spring. I think our neighbor will buy the farm. 
Father has gone to him now." 

Roy remained silent for some time. Mae rose and stirred 
the fire and replenished it with a large block of hickory wood. 
Then gazing into the fire, upon the open hearth, she spoke 
more to herself than to Roy, "I do not like the idea of having 
to leave my home. We do not know as yet where we will locate, 
but father is speaking of going to Des Moines, Iowa, where he 
has a brother. He wants to spend the remainder of his life in a 
town. And I — I^ — " Mae sat down and sighed. 

"Yes", said Roy, — "and I, too, am sorry. When will you 
go, will I ever see you again?" 

"That's just it. Will we ever see each other again?" 

151 



ALMA MATER 

Tears filled her beautiful eyes, and Roy, realizing for the 
first time that Mae was very much attached to him, experienced 
a strange, feeling heretofore unknown to him. He subdued it 
at once and spoke encouragingly to Mae, saying that the world 
was round after all and at that very small. He told her she 
should not worry, because they would not be separated, if God 
so willed it. Finally Mae became consoled, and they voiced 
their sentiments in an open and free manner, though they were 
not as yet declared lovers. Both were conscious, however, of 
a secret and happy attachment that bound them together with 
an irresistible power. 

As the afternoon was drawing to a close Mr. Brenner re- 
turned and shortly afterward they sat down to supper. Roy de- 
parted soon after supper. He was in a strange mood, sad and 
yet happy. When he thought of having to sing in public that 
night he was annoyed. He would have preferred sitting alone, 
all alone in a darkened room. And Mae — while preparing to 
attend the concert with her father, — secretly wept a tear, and 
she did not know whether it was happiness or sadness that 
moved her. Her womanly soul was deeply stirred, she experi- 
enced a sweet emotion entirely new to her. She sighed and 
said as though to herself: "Why go to the concert? Would 
that I might stay at home and think." 

Mae did go with her father, however, and sat like one in a 
dream while Roy sang, — 

My song is but a cry of grief. 

As cries the hart from pangs of thirst 

And vainly panteth for relief; 

Then I would cry, 0, lead me. Lord, 

To waters fresh, I pray. 

152 



ALMA MATER 

However, Th}' redeeming love, 
Thy spirit of forgiveness, Lord, 
Must come to me from Thee above 
Before my song will ever be 
More than a trumpet's bray. 

Then I would sing with angels' tongue 
A psalm of praise triumphantly, 
I'd rival with Thy Heavenly throng 
To sound the keynote of Thy grace, — 
Thus I would sing today. — 

"From Thanksgiving to Christmas it is only a hop, step 
and a jump", said Frank Tzarbell one evening as the boys were 
talking about going home during vacation. Sweet anticipations 
of Christmas at home were quelled with many when they 
thought of examinations. Oh, what a burden! They sighed, 
they worried and began to study hard to make up for lost time, 
but the impossible could not be accomplished. 

As a rule, the boy who postpones his work until the last 
moment is never to be relied upon. He lacks determination to 
do a thing when it should be done. He will always belong to 
those who come late. Many years ago the writer stood in the 
Union Depot at Columbus, Ohio, waiting for train connection. 
While there, a man came running as fast as possible trying to 
"catch the train". But he missed it. A railroad man who had 
observed the incident turned to me and said: "It occurs every 
day. I believe there are people that would arrive late, if they 
wanted to catch a train to heaven." 

Promptness, regularity, thoroughness and precision are a 
few of the virtues that will go far in bringing success to a stu- 
dent. But there will always be the latecomer. The following 
will serve to illustrate to what such negligence will lead, 

153 



ALMA MATEE 

It was the night before examinations. A conscientious 
famulus was on the job tliat week to wake the boys promptly at 
5:30 a. m. The serious chaps warned him thus: "If you don't 
wake us on time, there will be trouble. We must 'ox' for ex- 
aminations in the morning." 

Some of those that sleep o' nights said to themselves: "All 
right, we will see to it that you are awakened on time." Sure 
enough; they set the famulus' alarm clock for 3: a. m. Con- 
scientiously the famulus arose when the alarm rang and made 
the rounds: "Eise — rise! Examinations today! Else — rise!" 

The conscientious chaps got up, rubbed their eyes, washed 
and dressed, but did not feel refreshed. As they settled them- 
selves at their desks they discovered that it was just fifteen 
minutes past three o'clock. About fifteen of them went to Mr. 
Famulus' abode, saying: "AVhat's the matter with you? It's 
only 3:15 a. m." Sure enough; his alarm clock was exactly two 
hours and thirty minutes fast. After each one had expressed 
his opinion of a mutt who should have been wise to a trick 
played by some one who was still sleeping, some of them went 
to their rooms to "concentrate" as best they could, while others 
returned to their beds. 

Two days before the Christmas vacation Eoy received a 
telegram announcing the death of his Uncle Philip. Eoy had 
intended to remain at college, but the telegram, of course, 
changed his plans. He was shocked to hear the sad news, for 
his Uncle Philip meant much to him, not only on account of 
financial backing, but because his Uncle had proved himself 
a real friend, and Eoy loved him for that. Eoy left the same 
day and reached Philadelphia a few hours before the funeral. 

Eoy went from Philadelphia to his home. His heart was 
heavy, for his best friend had died, and he wondered what would 
become of him now. His parents knew of no way out of the 

154 



ALMA MATER 

financial difficulty that confronted him, now that his uncle was 
no more. At length they decided that he should return to 
school and confer with the Inspector. The death of his Uncle 
Philip threw a deep shadow over Roy's Christmas vacation. 

When Roy arrived at Elmhurst he found a letter from 
Philadelphia awaiting him. It was from his Uncle Philip's law- 
yer and conveyed the intelligence that Roy should continue 
with his studies, as his uncle had provided for him in his will. 
The same mail brought the Inspector word from his lawyer 
that Uncle Philip had l:)e(iueathed to P^lmhurst College a large 
sum of money. 

Though Roy truly mourned the loss of his uncle, he re- 
joiced over the fact that even in his death Philip Keller had 
proved himself to be a man of sterling Christian qualities. His 
gift came at the right time, too, for plans had been made to 
erect a new "Main Building". Early in spring ground for the 
new "Main Building" — as it is known to this da}' — was to be 
broken. 

That was nearly fifty years ago, when $5000 was considered 
a big sum of money. What Elmhurst College needs today are 
men — not one man, but a number of men like Philip Keller. 
Many in our dear Evangelical Church have accumulated wealth 
and are in a position to do much better than Philip Keller. We 
really do not need wealthy men who seek prominence by giving 
good advice only when it comes to spending the Church's money, 
but the wealthy man that has a heart full of love for the up- 
building of the kingdom, who will say little and do much. The 
wealthy man that is filled with the true Christian spirit will 
be a faithful steward, and will give to the Master's cause, not 
niggardly, but in accordance with his wealth. 

If ever there was a time when Elmhurst college needed 
such men, that time is now. Xew buildings are again needed, 

155 



ALMA MATER 

especially a new dormitory and music building. One man, 
whose name has not been made public, donated $10,000 for the 
building of the new library, for which the Evangelical League 
has raised an additional $40,000. 

If the writer of these pages — if the "Elmhurst Story" — 
should be the means of influencing some good, loyal member of 
the Church to open his heart and make a donation equal to 
that mentioned above, — the book will not have been in vain, 
and the writer will feel amply rewarded. May the good Lord, 
who leadeth the hearts of men, inspire two or three, or even 
ten, to bequeath to Elmhurst College a sum in accordance with 
their means! 

It is possible that many have but a slight knowledge of the 
history and size of the Library at Elmhurst. In Eoy's time 
there was no library at all. The lack of reference books was 
keenly felt by those boys who wanted to read up on some sub- 
ject. There was no fund for a library, and very little thought 
was given to the matter. So it happened that the boys them- 
selves took up the question. The real beginning of the library 
has never been made known. The writer, being one of those 
present at the time the library was founded, is in position to 
record the following as correct. 

The desire to read books other than those in use as class 
and text-books was discussed one day by a number of young 
men, in the old frame building, at one time known as the "Mel- 
anchthon Seminary." The center of the building was occupied 
by students, while the two wings were used as dwellings for the 
professors. In the rear of the building was a small room, used 
as a washroom by those living in the building. The boys were 
allowed to smoke in this room ; and after supper, if the weather 
prevented smoking outside, they would gather there and discuss 

156 



ALMA MATER 

various subjects, among which was the absolute need of books 
not available. 

The last discussion took place on the twenty-third of Sep- 
tember, 1877, and resulted in the founding and organizing of 
the "Elmhurst Lescverein." It is clear from the adoption of 
this name that the object was to read books, but the intention 
was to gather and purchase books also. Xone of the boys had 
ready money to purchase books, but they knew that in organ- 
izing and charging fees there would be money eventually to 
accomplish their purpose. 

The original members of this modest "Lescverein" were, 
therefore, the founders of the present '"Elmhurst Librar}'". 
They were: August Gehrke, John H. Dorjahn, Frederick Dink- 
meier, Paul Irion and Frederick Baltzer. August Gehrke was 
chosen president, while Paul Irion acted as secretary and 
treasurer. 

In order to give others the benefit of the society it was re- 
solved to charge three cents per hour for the privilege of list- 
ening to the reading of books, which took place once a week, on 
Wednesdays. Just a few attended each meeting, but in course 
of time the fund increased to substantial proportions. The 
first official reader was Paul Irion, later on August Gehrke was 
elected to this office. When the society had been in existence 
about one season it was decided to make a charge of ten cents 
per month as a membership fee. The officers were thus en- 
abled to buy the first books. 

The beginning was very primitive, and the first books 
were modest little volumes. F. Hoffmann's tales and Ottilie 
Wildermuth's stories were the first to be read to the boys. 
Later, when August Gehrke was the reader, the boys were able 
to boast of the works of the famous Fritz Renter. 

It must be remembered that friends donated books. The 

157 



ALMA MATER 

first book owned by the "Leseverein" was a novel, ''Die Weisse 
Sklavin," donated by the writer of these pages, who often won- 
ders whether the volume is still on the shelves of the library. 
When the Rev. Adolph Baltzer of St. Charles, Mo., then Presi- 
dent General of the Evangelical Church, heard of the little 
band of readers, he donated six volumes of his publication 
"Zum Feierabend". Then Mr. Henry Wiebusch, of St. Louis, 
Mo., made the society a present of the entire works of Fritz 
Renter, 

The "Leseverein" existed as such a number of years, then, 
after the death of Inspector Meusch in 1880, the name was 
changed to "Meusch Verein". Originally the few books on 
hand were kept in one of the closets of the above mentioned 
smoke and wash-room. After the erection of the "Main Build- 
ing" in 1878 they were removed to the basement of the build- 
ing, in which was also the clubroom of the "Meusch Verein," 
now used by the Y. M. C. A. 

The "Yearbook" of 1899 states that the library contained 
1050 volumes, besides fifteen German and English periodicals. 
There was also a small museum of curios, stuffed birds, etc. in 
the same room. This is still in existence. 

In 1912, when the new building, Irion Hall, was dedicated, 
the library was removed to its new and more spacious quarters 
in the west wing of the building. It then passed from the 
hands of the students to faculty control, under the name of 
"Meusch Memorial Library". One of the professors is the chief 
librarian, employing a large staff of stiulent librarians, ten 
or twelve of them. 

At present there are over 6000 volumes in the library. 
Through the kindness of IVIr. John Barton Payne, ex-secretary 
of the interior and administrator of the estate of the late Hon. 
Charles Page Bryan — a famous citizen of Elmhurst and a 

158 



ALMA MATER 

friend of the college — 2,500 books from his library have been 
added. There are several thousand copies of back numbers of 
magazines and pamphlets, and about thirty-five current periodi- 
cals are to be found on the tables of the library. 

Through the efforts of the "P]vangelical League" the sum 
of $50,000 has been raised, with which a new library building 
will be erected, in memory of our fallen soldiers. The names 
of 853 young men, members of the Evangelical Church, will 
appear on a bronze plate attached to the building, in commem- 
oration of service to their country in the late world war. 

Thus we see that the library at Elmhurst grew from a very 
small and insignificant beginning to a notable collection of 
books of which we have good reason to be proud, for it is evi- 
dence of the growth and influence not only of Elmhurst college, 
but of our Church as well. 

Thanks to his uncle's provision, Roy Keller was enabled to 
continue his studies, but he was depressed because Robert 
Becker was at the point of death. Roy studied hard, but his 
thoughts and prayers were with his sick friend. As the days 
and Aveeks dragged on it was evident Robert could not live, and 
Roy spent much of his time at his friends bedside. From the 
beginning of his failing health Robert insisted upon remaining 
at college, hoping that his strength would return so that he 
might continue his studies. The doctor held out no hope, and 
it was evident that Robert was too weak to be carried home. 
Roy was with him many nights until dawn, but not when the 
last night unfolded its shadows. It was really not expected 
that Robert would pass away that night ; but early in the morn- 
ing, when the boys, aroused by the senior, came down the 
stairs, one conveyed the sad news to the other, and in a few 
minutes it was known throughout the entire house that Robert 

159 



ALMA MATER 

had passed away peacefully, with the words on his lips: "All 
is well, my soul is calm and peaceful in the Lord, my Saviour." 

Though a deep shadow fell upon all, no one was shocked, 
as all had expected Robert's death. He was the first student 
to die at Elmhurst College. His body lay in state in the long 
hall, where the students paid their last tribute of honor and 
respect to their comrade by singing: "0, Jerusalem, thou fair- 
est". It was a sad duty and weighed on the hearts and minds 
of the young boys. Funeral services were conducted in the 
main building, after which the body was sent home. 

For a long time Robert was mourned by his comrades, 
especially by Roy Keller and Frank Tzarbell. The latter again 
proved his seriousness by dwelling upon such an unusual thing 
as death stalking into their sunny midst. That evening, when 
he and Roy had gone to bed, neither could sleep for a long time. 
Both lay in the darkened room thinking of the strange pro- 
cession that had passed down the street, escorting the re- 
mains of Robert Becker. Suddenly the silence was broken by 
Tzarbell. 

"Are you still awake, Roy?" 

"I am, why?" 

"0, I was thinking of poor Robert." 

"So was I." 

"Wliat do you make of it?" 

"Of what?" 

"Of Robert's death. Why should he die at all ? I don't un- 
derstand." 

"iSTor do I, but I yield to God's thoughts and ways, though 
I clearly see they are not our thoughts and ways." 

"True, we are told that religion meets every emergency 
and condition of life. I do want to believe all that and more: 
sometimes I have rejoiced in the thought that religion, I mean 

160 



ALMA HATEK 

the Christian religion, even girdles the grave with the rainbow 
of hope, and sows seeds among the clods of the grave that will 
bloom in the bye and bye into immortal flowers. For, don't 
you know, hope is the architect of the great aircastles of hu- 
man life. Hope lives eternal in the human breast. Hope is 
our sweet angel of compassion, that ever whispers: "It will be 
better after a while." We may weep during the night, but joy 
Cometh in the morning. Yet, I admit, Eoy, the darkness was 
almost too dense when we carried Robert away today." 

"Yes, I see; you are under the shadow of a heartache. Oh, 
those hearts of ours, how they can and do suffer! Sometimes we 
hear people exclaim : 'My heart is broken !' " 

"I do not mean to say that my heart is broken, but the 
darkness 'of the shadow of the valley of death' seems to have 
hidden that glorious stream of light through which our re- 
ligion proposes to illumine our souls. Now I see no light!" 

"Oh, Frank — listen to the words of the Prophet of God: 
"Seek Him that turneth the shadow into the morning." — • 

The night was cold and dark, — a terrific blizzard was 
sweeping over the great plains west of Chicago. The wind 
shook the house like a cradle, and howled like hungry wolves 
around the northwest corner, in which was located the bed- 
room of the two boys. They had ceased talking and now lay 
listening to the storm and thinking of their departed friend. 
Presently Tzarbell broke the silence once more. 

"Are you still awake?" 

"I am, why?" 

"I was thinking of what you told me of Robert's life pre- 
vious to his stay here, and I have drawn comparisons. You 
know we all liked him; he was a fine fellow and a Christian, 
better than I. I think I know now why he had to go. Listen; 
if I believe in God at all, and I think I do, I must take Robert's 

161 



ALMA MATEE 

removal as a lesson for us. Eobert was well prepared to go, and 
God could afford to use him as an instrument through which 
to teach us a severe, but loving lesson of life and death, such 
as no professor is able to give." 

"You make me think of the exclamation of the people 
when the Lord had healed the deaf and dumb man: 'He hath 
done all things well !' " 

"Roy, now I shall find sleep, for 'He hath done all things 
well/ " 

Again nothing was heard but the fur}^ of the storm, of 
which neither took any particular notice any more, and pres- 
ently they were beyond all earthly things and slept the sleep 
of the righteous. — 

About the first of February that year the boys received 
pleasant news. It was announced that the plans for a new 
Main Building, to be erected on the southeast line of the prem- 
ises, had been accepted, and that preparations were under 
way to break ground immediately after Easter. This was in- 
deed welcome news, as the students could no longer be accom- 
modated, to say nothing of housing them comfortably. In 
fact, the crowded conditions were such that eight students built 
a frame shack, in which they lived until they were transferred 
to the big, airy bedrooms located in the new building. The 
shack was built in the autumn that Eoy and Eobert entered 
Elmhurst. Eoy was one of the builders, in fact, the "master 
builder ", as he had learned to handle the carpenter's tools 
quite well while at home on the Ohio Eiver. It afforded the 
boys much pleasure to be allowed to build the "steampocket- 
appendix" — as they Jokingly termed the shack. But how they 
ever managed to live without freezing to statues during the 
winter was a miracle to many. 

While the building was under way Eoy had to take many 

162 



ALMA MATER 

a good-natured slur. One would say: "Look here, Roy, how 
about this knothole?" Another would stick his finger in a 
crevice and say: "If this was a boat on the river, Roy, you and 
all your servile hands would go to the bottom." In this man- 
ner Roy was teased and tormented by the idle onlookers, but 
never lost his temper. For all such remarks he had one stereo- 
type answer, "Never mind, that will all be covered." So, in 
in course of time, if any one needed assistance in his studies, 
or a patch on his trousers, or anything at all — he was told to 
"go to Roy Keller, he'll cover it up." 

By the time George Washington's birthday had arrived the 
architect and his assistants had visited Elmhurst a number of 
times. The place where the building was to be erected was 
settled upon and staked off, thus giving the students actual 
proof that it was not merely a rumor, but a fact that eventually 
the boys would live and learn in a tenantable and imposing 
building, to cost $50,000 ! That was a tremendous sum in those 
days and inspired the boys to love their Alma Mater more than 
ever. 

To give evidence of this love, the boys agreed to make the 
22nd day of February a glorious day. It was a holiday, of 
course! ^Vhat a Jolly time they did have on that day. As 
usual, a concert was arranged for the evening, and never be- 
fore had there been such merriment in the old building, known 
today as the Music Hall. Never before did the boys sing pa- 
triotic songs with such animation, nor speak with such verve 
as on that evening. 

The beloved Professor W. K. Saurbier fairly set the boys 
on edge with his powers of declamation, and inspired them to do 
their part as best they could. The professor said to Roy while 
rehearsing with him: "Xow, Roy, you have the gifts of an 
orator, and when you stand up before that audience on the 22nd 

163 



ALMA MATEK 

speak as though you meant every word. Do you know what 
you should be able to do? You should declaim so as to raise 
the people out of their seats." And Eoy almost did, when he 
recited "Sheridan's Ride", beginning: 

"Up from the South at break of day. 
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay, 
The affrighted air with a shudder bore 
The herald in haste to the Chieftain's door. 
The terrible grumble and rumble and roar 
Telling the battle was on once more, — 
And Sherdian twenty miles away! Etc., etc." 

Oh, it was a glorious thing to see and hear the boys ! Their 
eyes sparkling with true American patriotism, their hearts 
aglow for their Alma Mater! — 

In the afternoon Roy had an experience which, without 
doubt, was another cause for his unbounded joy and happiness, 
and it may have been the paramount one. 

While all the boys enjoyed the holiday, each according to 
his own liking, Roy, too, was determined to make the best of 
the day. He had not gone to the little farmhouse to see IVIae 
Brenner since Thanksgiving. Of course, that does not mean 
that he had not seen her since then. Even the Inspector 
seemed in the happiest of moods. He asked no questions when 
Roy requested permission, but granted it with a smile. So Roy 
started out with a light heart. With song and music on his 
lips and sweet sentiments in his heart, he arrived at the farm, 
but Bismarck was not at the gate, or at the door, when he 
knocked. That surprised him, and fear seized him for a mo- 
ment. The thought that Mae was not at home was anything 
but a pleasant one. He knocked once more and listened. No 
one came, but he imagined he heard something within. He 

164 



ALMA MA^J1^]R 

listened more intently and heard the same sound, but was con- 
vinced that it did not eminate from the living-room. By this 
time Roy had become excited and wondered what to do. The 
sound that he heard was so weak and indistinct he could not 
tell whether it was human or not. At any rate he would find 
out. 

Roy ran around the house to the kitchen and rapped at the 
kitchen door, where again he thought he heard a soft cry. He 
strained his ears to the upmost. He did hear a faint call for 
"help", though muffled. N^ow nothing held him back. He tried 
the door, which opened, and in an instant he was in the kitchen, 
but saw no one. Standing still to listen, he heard the same call 
for help, but more distinct than before. It seemed to come from 
the inner part of the house. Being familiar with the arrange- 
ment of the rooms, he now started for the bedroom of Mae's 
father. Opening the door, he was stunned for a second, but ex- 
claimed: "Mae, what is the matter, what has happened?" 

Mae Brenner, lying on the floor bound and gagged, gave 
no answer, for she had fainted. Roy freed her mouth and then 
ran to the kitchen for water, with which he moistened her fore- 
head and temples. She slowly revived, and in a few seconds 
Roy had loosened the ropes and, taking her in his arms, carried 
her to the bed. While in his arms Mae recognized him, gazing 
into his eyes, said with a sweet smile: "Roy — oh, Roy, it is 
you," and fainted again. But this second swoon was of very 
short duration. 

At length Mae could speak, and she related that two men 
had entered the house by force, bound and gagged her and de- 
manded her father's money. But she would not tell them a 
thing, so they finally left her in the position in which Roy 
found her. Her father had gone to the home of a neighbor, 
taking Bismarck along, which he had never done before. 

165 



ALMA MATER 

Mae was soon herself again, except that she suffered froni 
the effect of the shock, and pain caused by the ropes. Tioy 
helped her to the living-room, holding and bracing hor wivh 
his arm around her shoulders. Before Mae sat down in the 
big rocking-chair to which Eoy had led her she gave way and 
nestled her head against his shoulder, saying: "O, Eoy, you 
saved me! What can I do for you?" 

Roy experienced a thrill that was absolutely new to him, 
and he now realized that Mae was more to him than he had 
been willing to admit. He drew her into his arms as one would 
a dear little child and said: "Mae, the time will come when you 
shall also do something for me. Mae, my own dear ]\rae.'* 

Just as he had settled her comfortably Mr. Brenner re- 
turned, and was surprised at the scene. After hearing what 
had happened he laughed and wept at the same time, took Mae 
in his arms and kissed her, then held her at arms length, saying 
over and over: "Mae, my dear little girl, you are not hurt. Mae, 
thank God, you are still mine." 

Roy stood and looked on as one having but a silent part 
in the caresses that the father bestowed upon the daughter. 

Presently Roy noticed that he was in his shirt sleeves, and 
slipped out to the kitchen, unnoticed, where he had thrown his 
coat and overcoat on the kitchen table when he had hurriedly 
drawn the water. ^Miat made him do it? He could never tell. 
Probably in the excitement, following a custom at college when 
he would tackle some work. He slipped on his coat, but did not 
notice that something glided from liis inside pocket and fell to 
the floor. 

When Roy returned to the living room father and daughter 
were coolly discussing the affair. Roy joined in the conversa- 
tion, and for a long time they discussed the shameful attack, 
but in the end were happy, because Mae was with them. Mae's 

166 



ALMA MATER 

splendid health and steady nerves helped her to forget all abont 
the shock she received. Then the three agreed not to mention 
the attack to ai\yone, as they considered that a wise course. 

Time passed rapidly, and Roy had to leave, but left with a 
joyous heart. He was supremely happy when he thought of Mae's 
words and the deep meaning in her eyes when she said : "What 
can I do for you ?" Was it any wonder that his singing might 
have been a I'redit to Dijjpel or Wachtel? Any wonder that he 
spoke like a young Demosthenes? — 

Xext evening Roy and Tzarbell went over to visit Abra- 
ham. Roy was still in the happy mood of yesterday. He felt 
as though it would never leave him. Tzarbell, of course, knew 
nothing. Wlien they had greeted Abraham, who was sitting 
alour — ]iatnrally — in his lonely den. Roy asked him what made 
him so downhearted? Roy felt as though everyone should be 
happy, even Abraham. But Abraham had a deep grievance 
against some of the boys, and preceeded to tell Roy all about 
his troubles. 

"You know last month I got a dozen tine sausages from the 
Inspector ?" 

"Yes, we do; what's wrong with them, are they spoiled?'' 

"Xo — not spoiled, but — ruined." 

"Well, that's the same." 

"Xo, it is not. 1 have been trying to smoke them up, but 
as often as I looked at them I found they were not smoked up. 
They had the same reddish appearance. At last I opened one; 
and what do you think was in the sausage?'' 

•'Why, pork, beef and speckwuerfel, of course." 

"Not much! Sawdust! Some of you Ijausbub-fellows 
hooked the contents, and stutfed the casings with sawdust and 
colored tliem with brickdust. For shame! whoever did it! No 
wonder they would not smoke up." 

167 



ALMA MATEPt 

"And do you know who did the dirty work?" 

"No, but I suspect Johnny Bretz. He did not come with 
you tonight, because he feels guilty." 

"No, no, Abraham; Bretz would have let us in on that, if 
he had been the guilty person," said Frank. 

"Changing the subject,' 'interposed Eoy, "do you know what 
funny answer Bretz gave Professor Kaufmann the other day in 
class ?" 

"Did he throw his 'conslamity, durhamity' at some irregu- 
lar Greek verb?" 

"No; for the professor has cured him of that. The pro- 
fessor asked him who introduced tobacco into Europe, and 
Bretz answered: 'Sir Walter Raleigh, who said: Be of good 
cheer, for by God's grace there shall be lighted this day a flame 
in England which shall never be extinguished.' " 

"Ha, ha, ha ! Good for Bretz ! But that reminds me of an 
answer August Block gave the instructor of Latin. The pro- 
fessor said: 'What case is that?' Block answered with a broad 
smile ; Tlusquamperf ecti Ablativi !' " 

"Oh," said Roy, "that's eclipsed by a still better one. The 
instructor of Greek said to Henry Haymaker: 'What is the 
meaning of the word houleuo? Haymaker stared at the pro- 
fessor a moment, then said : 'The black cow.' " 

"Now listen to a good one," said Tzarbell. "Hi the Eng- 
lish class Jim Smart said to Professor Saurbier: 'Which is the 
greater, Hamlet or Macbeth?' Said the professor: 'As you like 
it.' " 

The boys laughed at each joke, and Abraham joined in, 
but he knew not why. Tzarbell and Roy took advantage of the 
moment and hurriedly left Abraham's abode. After their de- 
parture Abraham gave no more thought to his sausages that 
would not smoke up. Instead, he said under his breath; "It's 

168 



ALMA MATER 

no use, I can't be angry with Tzarbell and Roy. They are jolly 
good boys after all." — 

After the boys had gone Abraham felt hungry. He there- 
fore went to his cupboard and reached for a mincepie that had 
been given him by a farmer friend, with which to celebrate the 
22nd in royal fashion. There was half of it left. He ate it 
and drank a tumbler of homemade cherrybounce, diluted with 
water and — went to bed. That night dear old Abraham 
dreamt of his dusty sausages going up in smoke, and of a fire 
that would not be extinguished, while someone mockingly 
taunted him, continually saying: "As you like it." Then he 
saw a black cow racing through the fire with tail turned up 
and bellowing — "houleuo, boideuo!" When Abraham awoke he 
sat up in bed with beads of perspiration rolling down his face 
and exclaimed: "I wish I knew what houleuo means!" — 




1G9 




CHAPTER IX. 

HE twenty-third of February, the day ou which Eoy and 
Tzarbell were so full of merriment, was dark and 
dreary. The boys had spent the day with Abraham, 
but scarcely noticed the gloominess of the day. The 
sun did not shine, and the heavens appeared to be one 
mass of lowering clouds. Towards evening it began to rain and 
sleet, and then a cold Northerner blew up, so that by night 
streets, fields and meadows were covered with ice. 

Such February days are not encouraging; they have a ten- 
dency to depress our spirits. There are some natures, however, 
that are not affected by either sunshine or rain, but maintain 
an even balance of emotion. One who is naturally like a ray of 
simshine is seldom affected by the weather, for sunshine in the 
heart is not so easily dispelled. It requires more than a gloomy 
day. 

Mae Brenner proved herself to be a veritable ray of sun- 
shine, for such she was in her home; but her father was con- 
vinced that something had occured, as Mae was acting strangely. 

After Eoy's departure Mae prepared supper for her father, 
but partook of nothing herself. She was too happy to eat, and 
desired only to be alone. Her work finished in dining room and 
kitchen, she glanced around to see whether or not every thing 
was in order, and in doing so observed a folded paper lying un- 
der the kitchen table close to the wall. ]\Iae was just in the act 
of flinging the paper into the waste basket when she happened 
to recognize Eoy's handwriting. This aroused her curiosity 

170 



ALMA MATEK 

and, unfolding tlie i^heet, she read the following poem, which is 
familiar to the reader: 

Like Mt. Aetna and its crater 
When aflame, Alma Mater — 
Thus my heart in love is burning 
But for thee in loyal yearning. Etc., etc. 

Mae read the whole poem a second time, then folded her 
hands over her bosom and sighed. A certain weakness seized 
her, she felt the blood checked in her veins, she felt powerless. 
In this condition she dropped into a chair near the window 
and sat motionless for a time. Her father's call aroused her, 
to a degree, and she came to the living room. Her father did 
not notice her pallor, or the change in her manner, and had 
he done so, he would have attributed it to the shock of the 
afternoon. ]\rr. Brenner was reading by an old-fashioned oil 
lamp, the dimmness of which served to hide Mae's features. He 
asked her to be seated; then, as was his wont — the two were 
very good friends and concealed nothing from each other, — 
said without further ado: "Mae, my darling, tell me, what do 
you think of Roy Keller? I notice he has shown you pro- 
nounced attention lately. And I think I am right when I say 
that I believe you like him; am I right in this?" 

This unexpected question coming now, when her heart 
was dead, as she for the moment thought, brought Mae to her 
senses. Upon one thing she was determined, that not even her 
father should know of the poem, or the shock it had given her. 
She mustered all her strength and said: 

"Eoy is all right, father, but don't Jump at conclusions." 

"I am glad to see that you are so sensible, Mae, for you are 
both too young to entertain serious feelings for each other. Be- 
sides, Hoy is but a student and it will be several years before 

171 



ALMA MATER 

he will be in position to think of establishing a home for a dear 
little wife, such as you would make him." 

"Why certainly, father; don't worry about that." 

Here she rose, determined to bring the unpleasant conver- 
sation to a close and remarked; "I do feel the shock of this 
day very much, father, and think I shall go to my room and re- 
tire." 

"Do that, my dear girl. Get a good night's rest, and to- 
morrow you will be all right again." 

But Mae did not rest. She was wide awake. The ques- 
tion could not be dismissed as unimportant, for Mae was now 
aware that she really loved Roy, but considered her love unre- 
quited. She did not censure Roy, for there had been no pro- 
posal, no agreement, no promise of any kind. But why should 
he come to see her when his heart pined for another? Mae 
could not understand this part of it. She also wondered who 
Alma Mater was, as she never heard of a girl by that name. Oh, 
it was too cruel. She fell upon her couch and wept bitterly. 
Mae was now experiencing her first realization of a great sorrow. 

Mae slept but little that night, and at break of day rose 
uith the determination to investigate the matter, if possible. 
Of course, she would not see Roy again, but there might be 
some way of ascertaining the facts. Of this she was certain, 
she would be strong enough to forget him. However, there 
might be some misunderstanding, for she had never heard 
anything to Roy's detriment. Oh, what a puzzle it was! 

In addition to this, Mae's father was arranging to leave for 
Iowa immediately after Easter. During this time Mae's heart 
seemed to break. She pined for Roy, yet dared not see him 
again. She knew he would not come until Easter, but what 
should she do then? Turn him away from the door? Tell 

172 



ALMA MATEE 

him he had deceived her, was unworthy of her ? Yes, she would 
turn him away, — but would she? — And would he go? 

Weeks passed, weeks of unrelenting sorrow. Nothing was 
changed, no one helped Mae out of her difficulty. There was 
no chance for a secret investigation. Still depressed, she 
boarded a train one morning to do some shopping in Chicago. 
On her return to the station she was non-plussed to see Frank 
Tzarbell seated in the train bound for Elmhurst. Tzarbell was 
on his feet instantly and invited her to sit with him, which, as 
a matter of courtesy, she agreed to do. 

Frank Tzarbell was very kind to Mae and tried his best to 
interest her in various topics, but she was reticent, in fact, so 
much so that Tzarbell had diflficulty in keeping up the conver- 
sation. He introduced the subject of the new Main Building 
that was to be the pride of Elmhurst, and asked her if she was 
not interested? 

"0, why should I be? Father and 1 are going to move to 
Des Moines, Iowa, and Elmhurst, the students and everybody 
will soon be forgotten." 

"With the exception of one who is known to both of us." 

"AVho is that, pray?" 

'"Why, Miss Mae, how about Roy Keller?" 

"Roy? Hm! he seems to care more for his Alma Mater 
than anything in the world. Wliy should I bother?" 

"Yes, I'll admit, he loves his Alma Mater above all else. 
You know, he is one of those who — " 

"0, never mind, I am sufficiently informed. Please don't 
defend him." 

"I am not trying to, but I fail to understand. He — he — 
is, he likes you, I know that — " 

"Now, that will do; I am in a position to know better. 
Please don't say anything in his behalf, it will do you no good. 

173 



ALMA MATER 

Let us speak of something else, say — for instance, turstworth- 
iness, or straightforwardness, or something along that line." 

"Miss Mae, what on earth is the matter? I have never 
known you to speak so sarcastically of Roy." 

"I have said nothing about Roy that is not true, have I? 
Well, then, please let us close the subject." 

It was impossible to keep up the conversation, as Mae 
would scarcely say more than yes or no. Tzarbell looked out 
of the window and was relieved to note that they would arrive 
at Elmhurst in about five minutes. x\t the station he bade Mae 
good-bye, and hurriedly took his departure. 

At last Mae had it from Tzarbell's own lips that Roy loved 
his Alma Mater above all else. She knew that Tzarbell was 
trustworthy, and she believed him. Now she wished for Easter, 
that she might leave P]lmhurst forever. Yet, notwithstanding 
what she had heard, Mae knew that she loved Roy and admitted 
it to herself. 

When Tzarbell reached his room he found Roy there, but 
did not mention his having met Mae on the train, for he had 
an idea that something was wrong and did not care to meddle. 

Roy was so encouraged by his last visit to Mae's home he 
did not wait until Easter, though this day of days was very 
near. This time Bismarck greeted him with marked friend- 
liness, which he expressed by wagging his tail faster than usual. 
The door was opened by Mr. Brenner, who courteously invited 
Roy to enter, but informed him that ]\Iae would not return un- 
til that evening. Roy gave no evidence of his disappointment, 
saying: 

"I am sorry, but I'll try to see Mae later, at least I shall 
try to see her before you move to Iowa." 

Though Roy was courteously received by Mr. Brenner, he 
remained only a short while. He felt rather uncomfortable, 

174 



ALMA MATER 

and soon took his departure. The next day he received the 
following note from Mae: 

"Eoy: 

As r am in possession of absolute proof that you have in- 
fringed on the simple principle of fair play, I am moved to 
appeal to your generosity which, no doubt, will impel you to 
comprehend that further visits on your part will no longer be 
appreciated by me. 

Mae." 

What a blow! Roy was hurt to the core. He wrote Mae a 
letter, but received no answer. He wrote a second time, but 
his efforts were imrewarded. He asked for permission to see 
her, but was told by the Inspector to remain at his desk and 
work, as Easter examinations were near at hand. For the first 
time he was refused. A few days after Easter he heard that 
Mr. Brenner and his daughter had arrived in Iowa. It was all 
over. His dream was shattered. He went about like one 
groping in the dark. He fretted and worried until he was in 
danger of becoming ill. 

At length Roy gave way to a dull resignation, realizing 
that his hopes were blasted. He tried to make the best of it, 
for he knew that he would fail in his studies should he give way 
to grief. Yet his soul was not so easily pacified. Roy left a de- 
sire to relieve himself of all the sorrow that had come to him ; 
but how? That was the question. 

One evening while Roy was alone, Tzarbell having gone to 
the debating club, he gave vent to his feelings in the following 
gloomy lines, which any one will pardon who has the slightest 
idea of what disappointment in first love means. 

175 



ALMA MATEE 

The day will come 

When my still form is wrapt 

In robes of death, 

When thou art lone, and apt 

To weep in secret grief 

Beside my shrine, — 

Remember then, dear heart, 

My heart and wealth of love 

Were thine. 

I suffered much. 

But every word and kiss 

W^ere gleams of heaven and bliss 

Received from thet; 

To my unhappy heart. 

Indeed, a mine 

Of fathomless import 

To give my love and life 

For thine. 

In after years. 

When I am dead to love and song — 

When thou art loved 

By life's immortal throng, 

Remember then, dear heart, 

That I was thine; 

Look through thy tears, and know 

My life and wealth of love 

Were thine. — 

When he had finished Roy felt relieved, as though he had 
cast a heavy load from his troubled heart, and, there being am- 
ple time, he joined Tzarbell at the debating club. 

It has been stated that the opportunity for the study of 

176 



ALMA MATER 

English was but a meager one at Elmhurst in Roy's days, yet 
the boys determined to do all in their power to perfect them- 
selves in that language. This was not only the desire of the 
native born, but of those also who came to us direct from Ger- 
many. The German immigrant comes with the intention of be- 
ing a good, honest and staunch citizen, and therefore realizes 
from the start the necessity of learning the language of the 
country. 

Professor W. K. Saurbier, at that time the professor of 
English, could do no more than he did. English was treated as 
something that one could easily afford to miss. The boys, how- 
ever, were of a different opinion, and the result was that they 
helped themselves in this matter as they had done in others. 
They were poor, yes, very poor in those days. Money was scarce, 
or they would have purchased the books required to increase 
their meager knowledge of English. Our modern disciples of 
Lucullus who count that day lost on which they have not 
bought candy and soda would not have fitted in the narrow 
compass of those days. Yet those were the days in which some 
of our real characters were moulded, men who stand at the 
helm of the Church today; for nothing moulds so well as self- 
adjustment under the pressure of primitive conditions and pov- 
erty. As example of self-adjustment under adverse conditions I 
might mention two of the greatest men of America, Benjamin 
Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. When boys spend money and 
time foolishly on non-essential things while at school they de- 
velop a decidedly wrong habit which will retard their progress 
in life and as an Evangelical minister of the Gospel. Our boys of 
the past — fifty years ago — thought differently, not because of 
their poverty, but because of their rearing. Instead of lamenting 
over their lack of money and grumbling at the inadequacy of 
equipment and management, they provided, so far as it lay in 

177 



ALMA MATER 

their power, ways and means for advancement which the faculty 
could not provide, because of lack of funds. 

The boys proceeded to organize an English debating club, 
which was known as the P. L. A. — "Progressive Literary Asso- 
ciation", In this club many learned enough English to enable 
them to make good use of it in later years. Here some boys 
laid the foundation of their future mastery of English. 

It was to a meeting of this debating club that Roy was now 
wending his way, for despite his broken spirit he felt the neces- 
sity of mingling with the boys, lest he should lose control of 
himself. He clearly saw his danger, and was willing to con- 
front it, in order to overcome it. As Roy entered the little 
"smoking room" — known to the reader — in which the boys 
were assembled he was welcomed in this wise: 

"Where have you been all this time? Give an account of 
yourself !" 

"At last, the dreamer of Woodland !" 

"Why so late? What kept thee from our P. L, A. non 
plus ultra?" 

Roy, who of course was reticent, found a seat next to Long- 
head and C, A, White, 

Just then the chairman announced that at the conclusion 
of the program, consisting of essays, recitations, sketches and 
short biographies, a debate open to all would be held, subject: 

"Laughter is more natiTe to man than tears." 

The chairman explained that the program committee had 
finally selected this subject, because there was danger that the 
boys might suffer with melancholia on account of the monoton- 
ous life at Elmhurst, Some time elapsed before any one had 
courage enough to speak on the subject. The start was made 
by a boy sitting in the corner of the room, whose name was 

178 



ALMA MATER 

Carl Kind, and who had a pleasant smile for everyone he met. 
He set the ball rolling, as it were, by saying: 

"Mr. Chairman, you make me laugh!" 

All smiled, some even laughed. Here Tzarbell rose. 

"Mr. Chairman, the poet says: 'The babe has no language 
but a cry.' " 

Everyone noticed the play on words and indulged in hearty 
laughter. The chairman admonished the boys to consider the 
real meaning of the subject and discuss it along more sensible 
lines. Carl Kind asked permission to reply to Tzarbell's re- 
marks, and his request was granted. 

"I pardon the poet and also Brother Tzarbell, who may be 
one in disguise. But when he quotes: 'The babe has no lan- 
guage but a cry' — I can truthfully offset the wise saying by de- 
claring: 'But he has a visible speech and that is laughter!'" 

Amid thundering peals of laughter could be heard the 
"conslamity, durhamity" of Johnny Bretz. When silence again 
prevailed PVank Tzarbell turned the tide of laughter into ser- 
ious thought when he spoke as follows: 

"Mr. Chairman, it is true, we love to laugh. It is whole- 
some to laugh, since it is as much a demand of human nature as 
it is to speak, or to eat and drink the good things the Giver of all 
good and perfect things has provided for us. And for that 
reason we laugh more than we weep. 

"I admit, many will deem this statement untrue. We are 
prone to think it is not so, because we are accustomed to speak 
of this old earth as of the vale of tears, and because we are so 
fond of saving our tears in a tearbottle. AVe forget that this 
is needless, seeing that God is bottling our tears and keeping 
them before Him. I claim it is foolish to count our sorrow and 
grief as a nun her beads, but our laughter we do not subject to 
enumeration. AVould that we did! We should commemorate 

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ALMA MATEE 

our gladness and laud it, for it is altogether worthy of both. 
While I jestingly quoted the poet as saying 'the babe has no 
language but a cry,' I now gladly admit that Carl Kind is right 
when he persists that the babes speech is a visible laughter. 
Even the babe does more smiling than weeping, though its 
mother is of different opinion, because her love is so crowded 
with quieting the wailing voice of the child. 

"Not many hearts break. Sunshine and laughter overtake 
those that sorrow, and presently they will laugh again like the 
flowers in the meadow. Laughter is more native than tears." 

When Tzarbell sat down, no one stirred. All were think- 
ing. Eoy wondered if Tzarbell knew of his heartache. Did he 
say those things to touch the sad heart of his friend? Did he 
wish to show him how unwise it was to sorrow and weep? 
Whether that was true or not, Roy was strengthened wonderfully 
and seemed to see the silver lining of the clouds. Eoy was thank- 
ful, and the discussion went on. Henry Bergmann begged to 
be recognized by the chair. 

"J\Ir. Chairman! Some years ago I crossed the Atlantic. 
While upon the sea I saw days dim and dark, and heard the 
moan of the waters constantly. I saw the sky dripping in rain 
and mist and drawing near the vast sea until the two seemed 
one; I heard the tempest shriek in the masts and howl past the 
sails in midocean; all this, truly, — yet this was not all of my 
ocean voyage. I saw days as fair as days of spring in good old 
Germany, when snowy clouds sailed slowly over the blue sea of 
heaven, engendering fair dreams of home to me, a traveler in 
a far and lonely land. x\nd I saw the arch of the sky so high 
that its crest smote against the gate of heaven, standing ajai, 
and the balmy air was like that of a beautiful Mayday on Ger- 
man soil. I saw the waves run along the ship's side, caressing 
the sea monster as he cut his way through them, and far, far 

,180 



ALMA MATER 

away, anchored to the sky or sea, I know not which, tiny fisher- 
boats with snow-white sails moved to and fro on the mighty 
deep, and I was reminded of girlhood, clad all in white, frolick- 
ing on some meadow abloom with flowers of spring in — Ger- 
many. All this tempted us to make merry on the sea, for what 
I saw surely was as much an ingredient of our voyage as the 
raging tempest and angry waves or skies, gray with pain and 
hopelessness. 

"So has the vovage through life both gray days and gold, 
but I know the gold day will outweigh the gray days. There- 
fore, make much of joy. Nature does. God does; why not we? 
Christianity does; it must and will, for no one sees so much joy 
in life a? a Christian. Let song and laughter be the wine you 
drink. Have joy!" 

These last words impressed Longhead favorably. He 
jumped to his feet and cried for permission to speak. The 
chair recognized him quickly, and he hastened to speak. 

"Mr. Chairman, what kind of advice is this: 'Let song and 
laughter be the wine you drink !' Is that a good and safe advice 
to give? Are Christians to be insane and worldly? No, — I 
am glad to hear such an advice! I, too, think — yes, I know — 
that laughter is more native to man than tears. Heathen Hor- 
ace sang: 'Carpe diem!' — enjoy the day, make the best of it! 
And is that advice wrong because a heathen gave it ? Is noth- 
ing good save what speaks in the Bible? If that M'ere so, I 
would not want to be here, I would have done! No, let us not 
forget, God's world is as full of God as God's Book, — the Bible. 
If we would but see it. Horace and Socrates and Marcus Au- 
relius knew some truths as well as an Apostle. One thing the 
xA.postle knew was that enjoyment is a — health resort. Do not 
the Scriptures say: 'A merry heart maketh a cheerful coun- 
tenance' — 'A merry heart doeth good like medicine', and 'He 

181 



ALMA MATER 

that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast'? Methinks, 
Scripture is clasping hands with heathen philosophers. Am I 
wrong? I admit, the joy of a Christian is — what shall I say? 
— is sanctified. Christianity has laughter that rings to heaven. 
Who has never sung: 

'Joy to the world! The Lord is come; 
Let earth receive her King. 
Let every heart prepare Him room, 
And heaven and nature sing'? 

"The heathen did not know quite how to sing. It is 
Christianity that has turned the heart and lips to song and 
Joyful laughter. Joy runs to singing as the waters do. The 
Psalms sing themselves. 'Songs in the night' are part of the 
Gospel's hlessed benefits. Christianity has social joy, radiant 
and full, more joy and laughter than tears." — 

At this point of the discussion, Roy, for the moment at 
least, had forgotten his little trouble. It seemed so small and 
insignificant to him in the light of what had been said so fai. 
He was impressed, and the spirit moved him. He rose and said: 

"Mr. Chairnum, I wish to congratulate the program com- 
mittee on selecting this topic. The debate has been one of the 
best we have had so far. Yet 1 feel as though the real source 
of all real joy, or laughter, has not been laid bare as yet. True, 
Christianity was mentioned, but I should go one step further 
and say Christ himself is the source of all real joy. 

"Let me illustrate this by drawing comparisons. John the 
Baptist haunted the barren wilderness of Judea. He dwelt 
away from men. He was not social. He fills lis with admira- 
tion as a Prophet who came in ragged appearance and rugged 
thunder-speech. We honor him, but rarely love him. He 
stands tall as a saint, Tliat is John. But not so Jesus. John 

183 



ALMA MATER 

Was the courier, the dusty runner, clamoring with his thunder- 
ing voice: 'He comes, he comes, the King; make ready, make 
read}^ the King comes!' and Jesus is the King! 

"In Him, man comes first. His manhood makes a deep 
impression on us. Plis divinity dawns on us by little, as the 
day does, but His manhood stands out prominently. I do not 
wonder that the supper in the upper chamber lasted long. 
Little do I marvel that ]\rary sat at his feet listening like a 
woman to a tale of love. Small wonder that Martha would have 
heard Him rather than do household work. John never went 
to feasts, Jesus did, and they called Him winebibber, because 
he sat down at the table where guests were plenty. 

"We ought never forget that Jesus' first miracle was at a 
wedding and for a wedding. I heard a minister say that if 
Jesus had made real wine, he would have filled a drunkard's 
grave. That goes to show how little some people understand 
the Lord's thoughtfulness and sympathy with the host's embar- 
rassment, or his exquisite courtesy — in other words, his human 
desire of preventing gloom and disappointment at a feast of 
joy. Though the main object of His miracle was to manifest 
His glory, we must accept the fact that He also intended to 
keep sorrow at bay and let joy and laughter prevail. Marriage 
is a sign of the social life of the world, is the world's best life 
in picture. Love, and joy, and hope and promise — all are there. 
And Christ was present. Would we had seen Him! That social 
joy turned His own heart to laughter. Let no one think that 
because we see him weep. He knew no laughter. The human 
Christ was friendly to joy. And so should we be, and by nature 
we are. It must be as one of the speakers said: 'Christianity 
has laughter that rings to heaven !' and we have learned to 
laugh in that sense through the Christ." — 

The dav followino; the meeting of the P. L. A. was beauti- 



183 



ALMA MATER 

ful and springlike. Roy concluded that some misunderstand- 
ing had caused his trouble. He did not believe that Mae had 
written that note without a reason for such action. Therefore 
Roy did not give up Mae Brenner, for he was now convinced 
that he really loved her. He would wait, and some day the 
good Lord would clear it up. 

The first days of Easter vacation were the first beautiful 
spring days. Though the grounds around the few buildings 
were not laid out in flower gardens, yet one could see it was 
spring time. If nothing else proclaimed the return of spring 
Abraham's chickens did, — such cackling and noise in and 
around the chicken-coop! Abraham was kept busy gathering 
eggs, but he had his troubles nevertheless. He was convinced 
that he did not get all the eggs. There should be more, many 
more. But, what became of them? 

One day he complained to one of the students, by the name 
of Cherryman, who stood in favor with Abraham. Cherry- 
man told him to gather the eggs oftener during the day 
and then hide them in the hayloft under the hay. Cherry- 
man was so well liked by Abraham, he was soon advanced to 
the position of tonsorial artist. 

One evening Cherryman came to Abraham's room. "Abra- 
ham, it is time for me to shave you, is it not?" 

"Shave me? Why, I'm asleep already! You come back 
again tomorrow. I am in a bad humor tonight." 

"How's that? What has happened?" 

"Oh, those bad boys! In spite of the fact that I hid the 
eggs as you told me, they stole them anyway, but I'll get ahead 
of them this time. I have ten fine, fresh duck eggs. I'll bet 
they won't find those, for I hid them in the oatbin. I want a 
hen to hatch little ducklings. Won't that be fine?" 

Of course, when he arrived at the oatbin the following 

184 



ALMA MATER 

evening with a hen to hatch the duck eggs, they were — gone! 
He told Cherryman all about his troubles. Cherryman teased 
him, then encouraged him in scolding and denouncing the bad, 
bad boys! But Abraham reported the theft to the Superinten- 
dent, and the Superintendent reported to the Inspector, who 
gave the entire student-body a calling down, such as they never 
had before. No one would confess, however, and that infuri- 
ated the Inspector, who said things they did not care to hear. 

The boys had the eggs, however, — Cherryman, Zimmie, 
Buyer, Johnny Bretz, and five or six others. They not only 
had the eggs, and plenty of them, but bad consciences as well. 
They planned to get rid of the eggs, not thinking of what might 
follow. 

At length they decided to enjoy a feast of hard boiled eggs, 
but where would they be safe? Finally, by a unanimous vote 
the "old stone-quarry" which lay a mile away from the college 
was selected. That seemed to them the ideal spot to feast on 
hard boiled eggs, and they felt sure no one would suspect any- 
thing wrong at the stone-quarry. The quarry was full of water, 
and there were many stones with which to build a hearth. 

So on a beautiful spring day they marched to the quarry, 
— each boy's pockets filled with eggs, and his heart with pleas- 
ant anticipations. Cherryman, being one of the bakers at col- 
lege, was fortunate enough to secure salt, pepper, bread, butter 
and buns etc,, etc. All went well, but Zimmie had some trouble, 
because he wore a cut-away coat and had his share of eggs in 
the pockets of the dangling coat-tail. 

Zimmie's comical walk was a cource of amusement to his 
colleagues. They reached the quarry, however, without break- 
ing even one egg. All the eggs were now carefully extracted 
from the many pockets and placed on the ground. Cherryman, 
who assumed charge of the proceedings, gave a special com- 

185 



ALMA MATER 

mission to each one. Zimmie, who was blind in one eye, was 
to use the stones lying around for building a hearth. Cherry- 
man was sent to the quarry for fresh water, others were told to 
search for dry wood. When the boys saw from afar the stone 
hearth that Zimmie was building they admired it and the skill- 
ful hands that built it, but, upon close inspection, they were 
shocked, for behind Zimmie all the eggs were — scrambled — 
smashed — one big yellow pool! Xot one was whole, not one 
could be eaten. 

The boys surrounded Zimmie like so many Indians, all 
howling, scolding and gesticulating at the same time. I'hey 
called him all sorts of names, among others "Gelbfuessler'", 
but Zimmie kept his peace. He turned around several times, 
looked at his boots, then stared at the yellow egg-pool, saying: 
"Wie gewonnen, so zerronen! As I won, so I lose." — 

In the mean time work on tlie new Main Building was 
progressing rapidly. The walls rose majestically, and the stu- 
dents began to realize that the building would be large and 
massive. Speculation ran high as to the room each would 
occupy. The days had grown much longer, and many of the boys 
climbed on the scaffolding after supper to study the plan of the 
building. This was dangerous, however, and the Inspector 
gave orders that no one should again venture on the scaffolding. 

One day something dreadful happened. One of the brick- 
layers, an elderly man, fell from a window in the northeast 
room, and died from his injuries. It was a sad accident, and 
prol)ably not remembered by many. 

Thus days and weeks passed, and the semester was rapidly 
drawing to a close. It was the last year at Elmhurst for Roy 
and Tzarbell. Both were busy studying for final examinations. 
Though Roy had not been himself since his disappointment 
about Mae Brenner, he did not neglect his studies. 

186 



ALMA MATER 

While many were diligent and determined to pass with 
honor, there were those who enjoyed a joke and had their fun, 
when their minds should have been occupied with serious 
thoughts. 

One day some boys found a dynamite cartridge on the 
tracts of the N. W. E. E. They brought it to the college, and 
after supper laid it on the stone steps on the west side of the 
building. Then they fairly flew to a window on the third floor, 
took good aim and dropped a brick on it. The report was 
terrific. 

One of the professors, who happened to be in the faculty 
room at the time, ran through all the bath rooms in the base- 
ment, lamenting: "Some poor fellow has sliot himself, for 
fear he would not pass examinations tomorrow!" There was 
almost a panic for a time, but when the matter was cleared up 
the joke was enjo3^ed by many. The mischievous boys received 
a good call-down. — 

The semester closed as usual, and the boys returned to 
their homes. Eoy was now ready, having prepared as well as 
he could under the circumstances, to enter the Theological 
Seminary in the autumn. — 

Two months after the fall-term opened, on the thirty- 
first of October, ISIS, the new Main Building was dedicated. 
That was a great day for Elmhurst College. All the men who 
stood at the helm of the Evangelical Church at that time, with 
the exception of one, have passed to the great beyond. The one 
survivor is Ecv. Louis Haeberle, D. D. 

The Building Committee under whose supervision the 
building was erected was composed of John H. ^luehlke, Con- 
rad Fuerst, H. Horstmann, Ph. P. Klein, all of Chicago, ex- 
cepting j\rr. Horstmann, whose home was Naperville, 111. The 
president of the Board of Directors was the Eev. Carl Sieben- 

187 



ALMA MATER 

pfeiffer, of Eochester, New York. One hundred and one stu- 
dents were listed when the dedicatory exercises were held. 

The program was very simple, because the men taking 
part in the ceremonies as representatives of the Church hum- 
bled themselves before Jehovah as David did, saying: "Who are 
we, 0, Lord Jehovah, and what is our house, that Thou hast 
brought us so far?" 

The services were conducted in the large and artistically 
decorated chapel. One hundred and one students sang inspiring 
anthems, and the entire congregation sang the song of praise, 
the "Soli Deo Gloria"— "All glory be to God on high," and 
that impressive battle song: "A mighty fortress is our God." 
The fifth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Eomans was the 
Scripture lesson. 

The dedicatory sermon was preached by the president of 
the Board of Directors, the Rev. Carl Siebenpfeiffer, of Roch- 
ester, N. Y. — the most brilliant and eloquent orator of the 
Church. He selected his text from the 118th Psalm, the 24th 
and 35th verses: 

"This is the day which the Lord has made, 
^Ye will rejoice and he glad in it. 
Save now, I beseech Thee, Lord; 
Lord, I beseech Thee, 
Send now prosperity!" 

His able masterly discourse was based on the timely theme: 
What shall be the meaning of this enlarged institution to 
our sy nodical life? 

He then enlarged on six paramount points which he con- 
sidered of great importance to our synodical life. 

1. Synodical consciousness, 

2. Synodical honor, 

188 



ALMA MATER 

3. Synodical proficiency, 

4. Synodical growth, 

5. Synodical charity, 

6. Synodical responsibility. 

Regarding the last point, he said: 

"It is clear to every Evangelical Christian that we live in 
times of horror and great earnestness. World revolutions of 
past centuries are repeating themselves in the spiritual life of 
humanity, not, however, bringing order out of chaos. With 
titanic forces the world, in its endeavor to rail at the blessing 
of the Gospel, storms against heaven adorned with the stars of 
Christian truth, and not one star shall remain! Within the 
pale of humanity a tempestuous roar is heard, and the ground 
on which we stand trembles now and then, as though volcanic 
eruptions were threatened. The power and the kingdom of 
hell is known by many today. Demoniacal powers are revealed 
daily. The children of God look upon the work of destruction 
with the anger and grief of the Psalmist. They would see the 
power of God increase in speed, they would see the dawn of a 
new era before they pass to eternal rest. But God's mills 
grind slowly. 

"No matter where we stand, whether in peaceful times or 
near the goal of the world's history, — a tremendous responsi- 
bility rests upon every Christian denomination of the Church, 
rests upon us as individual' Christians, and also upon our dear 
Evangelical Church. 

"We are charged to testify and to confess, to wake and 
pray, to suffer and trust, to stand shoulder to shoulder with all 
Christian corporations and to engage all our powers in the 
work of our Lord so long as it is day, for we have a synodical 
responsibility. 

"This responsibility urged us to build this house, and this 

189 



ALMA MATER 

house urges us to shoulder our responsibilities with a deeper 
sense than ever before, and to prove it through our actions. 
This great responsibility must speed us on to make the best 
use of this institution. In it we must teach the right thing, 
and teach it right, so that we may 'become strong in the Lord 
and in the power of His might.' 

"To Him, therefore, in whom time and eternity rests, to 
Him, our Father that loveth us, the Son that redeemed us, the 
Holy Spirit that consummates us, to Him be honor and might 
and praise and adoration. '0 Lord, we beseech Thee, send 
now Thy prosperity !' " — 

In the afternoon the chapel was again filled to its capacity. 
Dr. Louis Haeberle, Rev. Philip Goebel and Rev. Carl Xestel 
made short talks to an appreciative audience. The great day 
came to a close and the setting sun produced a wonderful glow 
that seemed to give promise to a bright future for Elmhurst 
College, our Alma Mater. 

The prominent guests departed for their respective homes, 
and next day school work was resumed as usual. AYe know that 
Roy was not present at the dedication services of the new 
Main Building. He, Frank Tzarbell and some of their fellow 
students had entered the Old Theological Seminary, located 
in the romantic Missouri Valley. Johnny Bretz realized that he 
was not cut out to be a pastor, so he went home and worked for 
his father. When he left he said: "Now that Roy Keller an,d 
Frank Tzarbell are not here, I wouldn't stay anyway, conslam- 
ity, durhamity!" 

Roy and Tzarbell remained good friends, and within three 
years both were ordained ministers of the Gospel, — their goal 
was reached. Roy was ordained by his former tutor, the Rev. 
William Howe, who was still active in the vineyard of the Lord; 

190 



ALMA MATER 

and his wish to lay his hands on Roy's head with the hlessing 
of the Church, and thus send him into the field to work for 
the Master, was granted. 

In due time Roy received his first charge, which was in 
Iowa, and his heart trembled within him, for he had not for- 
gotten Mae Brenner, — on the contrary, the mere mention of 
the state of Iowa recalled to him his sweet romance with her 
at Elmhurst College. 

Roy was stationed in a little country town, about fifty 
miles from Des Moines, Iowa, where he knew Mae and her 
father lived. Roy's heart palpitated when he thought of the 
possibility of meeting Mae some day. 

As yet Mae knew nothing of Roy's living so near her home, 
but God leads his chidren wonderfully. 

It was at a Mission Festival that the young people met, — 
and we will leave the rest to the imagination of the kind reader. 
Sutfice it to say that one year later they were happily married. 

When the year 1896 dawned Roy and Mae had been 
married fourteen years, and were making preparations to visit 
Elmhurst College that Summer for the first time in seventeen 
years. The occasion was the twenty-fifth annivehsary of P]lm- 
hurst College, and both Roy and Tzarbell were scheduled to 
speak. 

When Roy and Mae arrived and beheld, once again, dear 
Old Elmhurst, their hearts were filled with emotion, and that 
night, before retiring, Mae said to Roy: 

"Though through sad experience I have learned the mean- 
ing of 'Alma !Mater', I have also learned to love you with all 
my heart. You loved your Alma Mater then, and you love it 
now, but I know that your love for me is greater." 

191 



ALMA MATEE 

"Yes, Mae, you know that it is, but let us be grateful 
that it was Alma Mater that really brought us together. We 
shall always be deeply grateful to dear old Alma Mater." 

The following day Tzarbell spoke on "Thought Life", — 
and Roy paid a glowing tribute of love and honor to Elmhurst 
College, his Alma Mater. 



FLVIS 



192